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Skier trapped under avalanche survives to tell his story, hopes to raise awareness about extreme weather conditions and winter sports
Saturday, March 14, 2015, 3:11 PM - James Mort describes it as "the scariest day of [his] life."
The Australian was skiing cautiously with his friends on the morning of Jan. 30, 2015, as he remembers the avalanche risk was very high.
When he landed on the final pitch of his run "everything went wrong," the skier notes on his blog. The snow around him started to break away, so he picked up speed. His tactic didn't work.
"I looked up just in time to watch the avalanche envelop me," Mort says. "'Okay,' I thought to myself. 'You're dead.'"
More than an hour later, Mort was rescued by his three friends and two Swiss ski patrol attendants, who proceeded to dig him out.
From that moment on, Mort says he and his friends made a pact to never ski off piste again, even if within boundary, unless every member of the group carried a complete avalanche pack (comprised of a transceiver, pole, and shovel.)
The incident prompted the creation of Mort's blog, in effort to educate fellow skiers of the risks associated with extreme weather accidents. "Do not follow my path," Mort says. "[A]lways practice conservative decision making when in the mountains, taking into account the local avalanche conditions.
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Mort says he was lucky, but so far, 75 people who visited the Swiss Alps this year have not been.
His final note to viewers, is to "always carry a transceiver, probe and shovel and most importantly get educated."
Speak to your local avalanche authority and to ski patrol if you plan to go off piste and complete an avalanche awareness course. It may just save a life."
WATCH NOW: Footage from Mort's avalanche accident.WARNING: The video below contains language that may not be suitable for all viewers. Discretion is advised.