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Avalanche accident in the Madrisa region

26.01.2012

"Seen from below we drove about 80m to the right of the official Chüecalanda slope from above into the left part of the slope. On the third or fourth downhill run I drove about 50m ahead in the fall line in the left part of the slope. My colleague was waiting up there. When I stopped, I heard a muffled "boom" sound. Immediately afterwards I noticed that I was moving again. I realized that I must be in a snow slab and pulled the release handle without any problems. I got hold of the release handle immediately and pulling it down was no problem at all. Both airbags inflated and I slipped about knee- to waist-deep in the snow, lying on my back and facing the valley with the snowboard down.

After I had triggered the ABS® , I pressed my hands in front of my face, so that I would have a cavity in front of my face in case of a possible total spillage. The avalanche gently pulled me along. There was no tugging. I always swam on the avalanche. At no time did it pull me down, I think after about 12 seconds the avalanche and I came to a stop. After the stop there was no additional snow from above. When I stopped, I was buried up to my knees/middle thighs and in an upright position. With my hands I was able to uncover and open the bindings and my partner came along and gave me support. Afterwards we informed the piste service on the Madrisa. Later we went to see the avalanche again. The man from the piste service joined us. He was very surprised about the extent of the avalanche. This morning (or maybe the day before?) the piste service had shot in from the helicopter about 15 meters above the demolition on the right side of the rock (seen from below). There was no release. In summary, I can say that I was able to release the ABS® backpack without any problems and that the two airbags inflated quickly and completely.

Last summer I had bought the backpack and made a test release. This winter I practiced the movement to the deployment handle every time I used the ABS® backpack (also while riding)".

M. P.