By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A Jackson man escaped injury over the weekend after being partially buried by an avalanche while snowmobiling.
John Sievers and his friend Jason Rubio were snowmobiling up a steep backcountry incline south of Jackson when an avalanche overtook Sievers’ snowmobile, leaving him partially buried.
A video posted to social media showed Rubio watching as his friend disappeared into the snow while they were riding. He quickly got his snowmobile running and raced to his friend, whose avalanche airbag did not deploy as it should have.
“Do you copy?” Rubio asked Sievers, whose arm was the only part of him visible, as the rest of his body and vehicle were buried underneath the snow.
Sievers can be heard making noises as Rubio pulls him out from underneath the heavy snow. He can also be heard telling his friend that he tried to pull the cord for his avalanche bag.
“Scariest experience of my life,” Sievers wrote on social media Sunday. “Thank God Jason Rubio was right there definitely could’ve been a different ending. I’m very thankful to walk away from this. My avalanche bag didn’t work I pulled the handle like my life depended on it and it didn’t deploy. #SorryMom“
Sievers did not immediately respond to Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment on Tuesday.
The Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center recorded the avalanche as being triggered by the snowmobile and remarked on Sievers’ good fortune.
“Partner appears to have helped dig out the machine that was buried against a tree,” the center wrote in its notation of the event. “Lucky result.”
According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, which compiles data on avalanche-related accidents, six people have been killed due to avalanches during the 2021-2022 season so far, three skiers and three snowmobilers. None of the deaths have occurred in Wyoming, though.