snowboarder rides avalanche down Utah mountain
Blake Nielson YouTube

Snowboarder Caught in Avalanche Down Utah Canyon Catches Everything on Video

Snowboarder Blake Nielson planned on a fun Sunday carving up some snow in Big Cottonwood Canyon's Kessler Peak, but the day turned into a harrowing adventure instead. As they started down the run, the snowboarders accidentally triggered an avalanche that carried them 300 feet down the mountain. Nielson posted the video of the scary incident to his YouTube page, which was later shared on Fox 13 Utah's TikTok page.

In the video, you can see Nielson riding the avalanche down the Argenta slide path, trying to stay on top of the flowing snow. Viewers can hear him yelling instructions to his buddy to do the same.


CLOSE CALL - Wild video shows an extremely close call after a snowboarder got caught and rode an avalanche in Big Cottonwood Canyon over the weekend. Blake Nielsen shared the intense video of the incident and reported to the Utah Avalanche Center that his group had tested the snow structure before riding down. The slope slid about 1,300 feet in total, Nielsen reported. Full story at the link in our bio. #utah #bigcottonwoodcanyon #utahnews #utahsnowboarding #utahsnow #utahavalanche #utahavalanchecenter #fox13news #fox13utah

? original sound - Fox13Utah

Nielson submitted a post-avalanche report to the Utah Avalanche Center. In the report, he writes, "We dug a snowpit to test stability and found no deep instabilities in the snow structure." However, he did note that there was wind coming over the ridge.

"I descended first and dropped into the hanging bowl, after making a heel side turn, an isolated wind slab broke loose below and above me, which knocked me off my feet and took me for a ride," Nielson said in the report.

In the video clip, Nielson uses his arms to make swimming motions to stay on top of the snow. After around 300 feet, he and his snowboarding partner finally stopped.  Nielson said the total slide was around 1,300 feet. The avalanche was reportedly 5 feet deep and 50 feet wide and occurred at 10,200 feet.

He has a few key takeaways for other snow adventures. "Respect the wind. Even a small 'manageable' wind pocket can break and carry you a long way in steep terrain with long runouts." He also pointed out that "cross-loading is serious." He was aware of winds since he read the avalanche forecast, but he "did not anticipate cross-loading to be as obvious as a problem." In hindsight, it was. He suggests making a ski cut to avoid a similar situation.

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