HomeOutdoorsViralRussian Skier Narrowly Escapes Death in Heart-Pounding Avalanche Footage

Russian Skier Narrowly Escapes Death in Heart-Pounding Avalanche Footage

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP via Getty Images)

A Russian skier narrowly escapes death after allegedly going over the edge of a cliff during a heart-pounding avalanche in late November 2022. 

According to the New York Post, the footage was first posted in late November and shows the lead skier of a group approaching the edge of a snow cliff and stops. This was right before the entire snow bank gave way underneath him. Other skiers in the group shouted and approach the ledge to look for the other skier. But they quickly backed away from the edge to avoid falling as well. 

Russian outlet Pravda stated that the incident occurred at the Verkhne-Ivanovskaya mountain near the village of Priiskovoe in southern Russia. However, the media outlet did not say when it occurred. Despite not being 100% verified, Pravda did report that the skier surprisingly survived the incident. The Post noted it wasn’t able to independently verify the reports. 

Russian skier video comes just days after an American skier ended up getting buried waist-deep in snow following an avalanche at Neff’s Canyon near Salt Lake City. The person ended up being trapped for around 45 minutes until he was eventually found. After being able to reach for him and get him out, rescues carried the injured skier on foot. He would eventually be carried by helicopter and snowmobile to a healthcare facility to have his injuries looked at. 

“To his luck, there was a Unified Firefighter and EMT who was out in the area recreating,” Sgt. Melody Cutler stated. “And heard his cries for help and was able to respond and dig him out. He stayed with him the entire time.”

Due to weather issues, the rescuers had to ski with the injured man down the slope. 

Forecaster Explains What Causes an Avalanche & How a Skier Can Avoid Them 

While speaking to KSL NewsRadio, Craig Gordon, an avalanche forecaster with the Utah Avalanche Center spoke about what causes avalanches and how skiers (and others) may avoid them. 

“Sometimes it takes days, weeks, maybe even months,” Gordon told the media outlet. He further explained that the early snow in the fall weakened during a dry spell in November. This weak base is not topping down several feet of fresh snow. This is notably considered a “strong recipe” for avalanches. 

Meanwhile, as skiers and other winter enthusiasts enjoy the fresh powder, many wonder what will help decrease avalanche dangers. Gordon declared the answer is more snow. “Over time those insulating layers add weight and they change the structure of that weak layer that we’re dealing with…it crushes it into submission.” 

However, Gordon noted that temperates need to change gradually over time instead of abruptly. He said back country-goers should stick to low-angle terrain and avoid steep slopes, whether they’re on, under or adjacent to them. However, he did say that there’s no need to avoid slopes altogether.