Footage | Avalanche Crashes Into A Group Of Snowmobilers In The Uinta Mountains

A shared experience, and backcountry safety lessons to be learned

We’ve seen some truly terrifying avalanche footage this winter and this clip, filmed in the Uinta Mountains in Utah and uploaded to Instagram by Miles Penrose (@backcountrymiles), is another one to add to that most unpleasant stack. It features a group who were out snowmobiling before the slide struck.

In a hard-hitting post uploaded to Instagram on the 7th of February, Miles shared his story in the hope people could learn from it:

“Today we were riding in the Uintahs, the snow was great up high and it was finally feeling like we had some base. I have been riding sleds in this particular area since I was 8 years old. I am very familiar with the area. My brother and I were playing on the side of a hill in the a tree area where have have ridden 30-40 times in years past.. (Right side of the video).

“We had 3 other friends and one younger below in the flats. As I finished recording my brother playing in the pow, the mountain shook. My original thought was… earthquake. Then it hit me, avalanche.

“As I turned and looked up I could see the snow wave coming”

“As I turned and looked up I could see the snow wave coming. My brothers back was turned and I screamed avalanche as loud as I could.

“Now here comes my mistake #1. I pulled my Klim avalanche backpack and boom, nothing happened. I hadn’t turned it on. A second later the snow hit and the swimming started. Somehow I only moved about 20 yards and stayed on top of the snow (MIRACLE) . Only being buried to my lower chest I dug myself out.

“My little brothers sled was running and I could hear the yelling on the radio. I could hear someone in the trees, but I couldn’t figure out where. I ran to my brothers sled and turned it off. I now could hear him screaming my name.

“Mistake #2 had I not been able to hear his voice I would of been lost. My beacon, probe, and shovel were all in my backpack but I would of had no clue what to do first. Let me tell you there is no worse feeling than having your little brother buried.

“Let me tell you there is no worse feeling than having your little brother buried”

“I followed his voice and saw the top of his black helmet and his voice and started digging. About 60 seconds later I had his face uncovered. He was okay. Then came the radio chatter, where is everyone at? Was everyone okay?

“We didn’t realize it but the avalanche had also triggered even bigger on the other side of trees where we were. My youngest brother was able to out run it so was one of our other friends. Our 2 other friends both got hit with the wave on the FLATS.

“Craig and his sled were both buried. Craig got his shoot off in time, which ultimately probably saved his life. The person filming (Nate) was buried to about his face and somehow was able to hold on to his phone.”


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A post shared by Mpora (@mporaofficial)

Screenshot via Instagram (@backcountrymiles)
Screenshot via Instagram (@backcountrymiles)
Screenshot via Instagram (@backcountrymiles)
Screenshot via Instagram (@backcountrymiles)

A lucky escape for everyone involved here. Avalanches can happen to anyone so it’s vital that we all follow a safe code of conduct when out in the backcountry. Thanks to Miles for sharing his story, and being honest about the mistakes he made.

Let’s all learn from this whether we’re a skier, a snowboarder, or a snowmobiler.

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