Snowboarder buried head-first under snow rescued by skier

(Reuters) — A hero skier saved the life of a snowboarder stuck head first and completely buried in a massive snow drift.

Francis Zuber was maneuvering around the tops of trees in deep powder on Mt. Baker, in northwestern Washington, USA, when he spotted a snowboard sticking out of the snow.

He desperately dug away at the snow with his bare hands to reach the stricken snowboarder – before using his emergency shovel to finish the job. It was a million-to-one chance that Francis spotted him at all. He had only just come off his own skis in the bumpy ‘tree well’ and fell just feet away from the trapped snowboarder.

If he hadn’t have fallen – he would have skied straight past and left the snowboarder to almost certain death. Francis’s head cam shows him approaching the scene and asking “You alright?”.

But after receiving no response, he starts packing snow with his skis to make a path over to the tree well. Once closer, he removes his skis, pulls himself up the snow mound and starts digging with his hands. Francis can be heard reassuring the snowboarder until the man’s reflective visor pokes out of the snow and then his mouth, at which point he takes a big gulp of air. “Thank you”, the snowboarder says. “Yeah, no problem,” Zuber replied.

He then pulls out an emergency shovel and digs the snowboarder out completely. Francis wrote alongside the video: “All I’ll say for now is the mountains don’t care how much skill or experience you have. “They don’t even care if you and your ski partners are doing everything right. “Take an Avy 1 course, and get trained on what to do if you find yourself in this situation. “I’m thankful I knew just enough to scrape by and perform a successful rescue. “And always look out for each other out there.”

The incident happened on March 3.

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