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An Unforgettable Avalanche Insitendce

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An Unforgettable Avalanche Insitendce

  1. 1. Daniel Illy The Unforgettable Avalanche Incident It was an early morning rise at 7, as I woke up and opened my blinds to be ready for a day of skiing. The roofs of the houses were all full of snow with new 50 centimetres of snow ready to be skied. I quickly got up and had a short breakfast. At 8:30 I was ready to meet my coach and my friend for an amazing day of skiing, with my avalanche bag. The weather was sunny but at the same time still snowing, I was feeling very confident for a good day and I knew today I would push it past my limits. We were doing lots of runs and having the best day of our lives, but there were more than 10 helicopters and ski patrols helping people. Something felt really weird about this day but I couldn’t figure out what. Throughout the day we rode with many cabins and had lots of fun. It started to get tiring, because we always had to go on and off. The moment came, it was supposed to be the second last run. As I jumped off the chair lift ready to go to the station at the bottom; I quickly took a right into an off-piste area which I do very often. There was no need to install my avalanche bag as I do this often. I look left and right and see rocks and a few little trees, with heavy snow. The sun was burning on the face of the mountain and something seemed wrong. I started to ski happily and loud down the mountain with my friend and my coach. The three of us had never experienced skiing in such good snow. As my friend took a left to the side of the mountain, my coach and I continued down the mountain. In a split second, I felt the whole mountain shaking and suddenly my body flipped over and I flashed downhill.
  2. 2. Suddenly, my coach managed to ski out of the avalanche as he was highly trained, but my brain had fully shutdown because of the shock I was having. For 10 seconds as I was flying down the mountain I felt like as if I had just been paralyzed. My body prohibited me to do anything. It was a horrible feeling because I didn’t know what objects I was hitting. There were rocks around me that I could have hit while flying down the mountain; which could have highly injured me. An avalanche happens very fast but when you are actually in it going down you sort of feel as if you are in slow motion. The only thing you can think about is if you are going to come out safe and alive. I looked at my friend in the eyes and prayed to come out alive. As I got to the bottom and things started to slow down, the snow luckily deposited me up; so I didn’t get buried. My coach and friend couldn’t find me at first because I was half buried into the snow and they didn’t imagine that it would have thrown me all the way down. All I felt when things calmed down was tun, tutun, tun, tutun, my heart was pounding harder and harder and I could barely even talk to my friends because of the shock I was in. Looking back I realized that now when I go and ski in the mountains I always know that nature is a million times stronger than us and will always be. When you do sport that risks your life you need to always think about safety first, because when that time comes where you're in an avalanche you need to be protected by professional material. Every time I go skiing now I always, always look at the conditions and what I need to bring before I go out for a great day of skiing. I also didn’t only learn how to be safe on the mountain, but I also learnt how to always appreciate your friends and if you are bored or not happy with your friends, be happy because I learnt to appreciate others. You will never know what can happen in life.
  3. 3. To conclude, this incident has helped me become a better person and have more respect for the mountains in winter, as they can be a fun place to be but at the same time you have to think twice and be aware of the risks involved in the sport. Finally, being safe is your number one priority no matter what you are doing.