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Caught on video: Snowboarder escapes avalanche unharmed

Monday, January 18th 2021, 3:11 pm - The 25-year-old Denver man not only escaped the avalanche safely, without any harm, he also filmed the heart-racing experience.

When trekking down the mountain, whether on skis, snowboard or on foot, things can take a turn for the worse in the blink of an eye.

Just ask Colorado snowboarder Maurice Kervin, who found himself caught in an avalanche moments after beginning his push down the slopes of No Name Peak, near Loveland Pass in Summit County, Colo. on Jan. 8.

SEE ALSO: Skiers rescued after avalanche south of Whistler, B.C.

In fact, the incident started unfolding less than a minute after Kervin began his journey, he told CNN in an interview. The 25-year-old Denver man not only escaped the avalanche safely, without any harm, he also filmed the heart-racing experience.

"I was in awe of how big it was, and very thankful that I was alive, honestly, or not buried, not fatally injured," Kervin told CNN. "The magnitude of it was definitely enough to bury you, mangle you or possibly kill you. It was very intense."

Avalanche/Maurice Kervin/@Shreadsauce Maurice Kervin found himself caught in an avalanche shortly after beginning his push down the mountain. Photo: Maurice Kervin/@Shreadsauce

'SHOOTING CRACKS' APPEARED IN THE SNOW

What tipped the snowboarder off of the impending trouble was the appearance of "shooting cracks" below him, Kervin said.

"The snow is breaking into blocks, essentially, and it looks like shooting cracks or spiderwebs in front of you in the snow as it like breaks apart," said Kervin.

Once he started to feel himself being pulled under by the snow, Kervin stated he was able to stay atop of the snow by using his backpack, which was equipped with an airbag. Snow came tumbling toward and around him as he lost his balance at around 1,000 feet.

"I dropped my ax and my camera that was in my back hand and pulled my airbag, which helped me float above the snow," Kervin said. "I was able to get my feet above the snow after going off a small cliff and able to float on top of the snow until I came to a stop."

After he stopped plummeting, the world was "still moving around me," he described. "It was very surreal in the moment."

SECOND PERSON CAUGHT IN AN AVALANCHE THAT DAY

Kervin wasn't the only person caught in avalanche on Jan. 8, as there was one other, and both avalanches were human-triggered, according to Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) director Ethan Greene. One of them was initiated by Kervin.

Avalanche/Maurice Kervin/@Shreadsauce The 25-year-old snowboarder not only escaped the avalanche safely, without any harm, he also filmed the heart-racing experience. Photo: Maurice Kervin/@Shreadsauce

"About 90 per cent of the accidents that we have are where somebody dies or somebody in their party triggers the avalanche, rather than a natural avalanche that hits somebody," he told CNN.

Human-initiated avalanches aren't uncommon. In fact, so far this year, Colorado has experienced a higher-than-normal amount of avalanches, Greene said, noting CAIC has tallied 259 of them in the state to date, as of Jan. 16.

Over the past 10 winters, an average of 27 people have been killed in avalanches each season in the United States, according to CAIC. There were 23 avalanche deaths in the United States in 2020.

Thumbnail courtesy of Maurice Kervin/@Shreadsauce

Source: CNN

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