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Avalanche Surselva

13.02.2013

"At the time of the avalanche, warning level 3 was in effect, and the point of departure was a few meters below the summit, the first steep slope. About an ½ hour before, a group of four had entered the slope individually. There were also 2 to 3 ski tracks, probably from the previous day, in the slope. We also decided to enter the slope one by one. There would have been about 3-4 turns in the slope, only to return to the safe back with a wide turn. I made the start. I wanted to stay close to the tracks of the support group, but due to a small driving mistake I had to swing further into the still untouched snow. This led to a tear. I did not perceive a sound. I noticed that something was wrong, then saw the crack, the clods and that the slope had started to move. I thought "Shit - avalanche" and noticed that I lost my balance.

The next thing I remember was the release handle in close-up and the thought of "go now pull". Since I am on the road with ABS® I always asked myself if I would find the handle immediately in case of an emergency. Now it was no problem. Not even with the thicker ski finger gloves that I always wear when skiing downhill. While I was carried away by the snow I heard the ABS® balloons inflating. I lay on my back during the whole descent, but was turned once around the longitudinal axis. I also got a blast of snow in my face and mouth once, but was never covered by snow. I was always on top. It was clear to me that it was going down, but I had no clear feeling for my position. I also had no sense of time. The time in the moving avalanche seemed very long and I thought to myself

 "I hope it stops before it gets steep again." Luckily she did. I can't remember a pull on the waist belt when the balloons opened. I had not put on the small belt in my crotch.

When the avalanche stopped, I was lying uninjured on the cone. I had lost one ski, which I couldn't find anymore. One ski was still on my foot. The binding was easy to open and after digging with my hands I had the ski free. I still had both poles on the hand loops. I gave my comrades signs that I was uninjured. They stayed in the safe area and watched me.

Psychologically, I felt surprisingly good and clear after the avalanche. In order to get to safe terrain to join my comrades I had to ascend a part of the avalanche track again and finally fight my way through deep snow. I was afraid that I could trigger a board again, but fortunately this did not happen.

Since I was uninjured and psychologically stable, I decided not to make an emergency call but to ski down on one ski. In the valley, we called a local mountain guide to inform him about the avalanche, so that no third party would initiate a rescue operation.

T.S.

Photo: Tegan Mierle