A dramatic video making the rounds online shows a skier saving the life of a snowboarder who had become trapped underneath a pile of snow while riding.
The footage was taken from the GoPro camera of Francis Zuber on Mt. Baker, located in northern Washington, near the U.S.-Canadian border.
Zuber told FOX 13 he was skiing down the mountain when a “flash of color” caught his attention off to the side. He quickly realized someone had fallen into the snow.
That someone was Ian Steger, who was snowboarding through the trees and the snow collapsed behind him, knocking him into the deep snow head-first.
As Zuber later explained, such instances can happen to riders as experienced as Steger. The pine trees catch a lot of snow around the branches, but not much at the base, leaving it less dense. Once too close, as was Steger, the snow can draw a rider in.
Zuber likened it to quicksand, “where the more you sort of struggle and try to get out of it, the more it’s going to such you in.”
Steger told the outlet he was able to clear a small airway and pull his jacket over his face, so he could breathe and not inhale snow – a move that likely saved his life.
Zuber’s GoPro footage shows him working frantically to clear enough snow for Steger to be able to breathe.
“I mean, adrenaline is one heck of a drug,” Zuber later said.
“I’ve told him how grateful I am that he was there and he had saved my life, how grateful my fiancé is,” Steger said.