While absolutely terrifying and capable of destruction, being able to watch an avalanche from a safe distance can be an astonishing thing. And this time of year certainly isn’t immune to avalanches in places where the weather is changing drastically and the deep snowpacks we all spent months celebrating over the winter become a potential hazard.
Footage from a drone on Vancouver Island covers all these points. The drone pilot, who goes by the handle Mactac, happened to be in the right (safe) place at the right time recently when he heard the rumblings of a slide in the distance. Any photographer or videographer would have done exactly the same thing and documented it all, but Mactac’s specific style of filming and the equipment he uses combined for an opportunity to catch something special. He was in BC for what’s called long-range mountain surfing, which is more or less flying up or down a mountainside with lenses and equipment that allow the drone to capture especially close, high-definition footage. It gives the footage a unique first-person perspective you couldn’t experience with just any drone setup. He flies directly over the avalanche just as it’s first touching the base of the mountain and then above the aftermath, where loose snow is still drifting down the original path of the slide.
“There was a ‘severe avalanche warning’ a couple of days prior, but things seemed to have calmed down,” the pilot said. “Just when we’re getting ready to leave, I looked up and saw a huge avalanche coming down the mountain right in front of us! I scrambled to get a battery on my drone, fumbled with my GoPro, and booked it out towards the mountain as fast as I possibly could. I got there just in time to see an absolutely scary amount of snow hitting the bottom of the mountain. What looks like water is actually a huge amount of snow, with some chunks as big as my truck.”