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The Inertia

A rare East Coast avalanche swept away a skier at Main’s Sugarloaf Resort this week, reportedly burying the skier up to his neck. High winds and deep snowfalls created perfect windslab conditions, according to resort patrol.

The skier was in a group of riders who’d picked out a piece of terrain to ride together. When the skier took off on his line, the slope released, carrying him downhill before burying him. Nic Krueger was celebrating his 27th birthday and had hooked up with the random group to ride with. He rescued the buried skier, who as of yet, is unidentified.

“We were all staring down this chute and were like, ‘Well, who’s going to be the first one to point our skis straight and go down and ski it,'” he said. That’s when the unidentified skier who was buried charged. “I saw this big mound of snow and said, ‘that may let go,’ and no later than I could say it under my breath I watch the whole thing collapse in front of him.”

The 50-foot wide avalanche carried the man thirty feet or so down the mountain, according to Krueger. “I made my way down there and just started digging snow as fast as I could to get him out of there,” he said.

Yes, avalanches on the East Coast don’t happen often as big, open, above-tree line terrain isn’t as prevalent. But they certainly do happen. In March of 2018, six National Guardsmen who were taking part in a winter warfare course in Vermont were swept 900 feet down a steep ravine by an avalanche on Smugglers Notch, which sits on the north side of Mount Mansfield not far from Stowe. That was after the area received around two feet of snow in a 24-hour period.

It’s been an active weather pattern of late on the Right Coast as a strong storm pummeled the region. A snowboarder in Vermont also posted video of an avalanche on March 24th. You can see that below.

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