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This snowboarder, we’ll call him the Bearded Splitboarder because that’s what he calls himself, tells a pretty crazy story of getting tumbled by an avalanche last spring in Colorado off Vasquez Peak. Spring is usually a time for shredding steeper lines. But in May of last season, Colorado was blessed with a big snowstorm. So things changed.

Myself and my partner decided to summit and ride down a northeastern facing chute that we believed had not been subject to the sun as much. We had both ridden this area a few times in years past but had not done this particular chute before, since it’s steeper than some of the others sitting further up valley.

Safety First. Photo: Bearded Splitboarder

As we started to ride down the snow was soft, which was unexpected. Everywhere else was firm. My partner descended about 3/4 of the way down and stopped in a safe zone so we could regroup and descend to the other two members of our party. He rode down the least steep portion of the chute and noticed a few rollerballs starting there as well. He yelled up at me about the rollerballing but I did not hear him. I descended next and followed a fall line to drop in. This line had a convexity and became steeper.

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I did a few turns and was picking up speed when the slope to my left began to crack. To my right were two large rocks poking out so i decided to go left so if I was swept off my feet I would not be dragged through them. I straight lined it hoping to escape but got swept off my feet. We believe the slide carried me about 200 feet. I was able to keep my face skyward and as I came to a stop I didn’t have any snow on my head so I threw a hand up so as the debris settled my partner would be able to see me quickly. My left side ended up being buried under about a foot of wet snow, while my right side was free.

You can read Bearded’s full account, here.


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