Géraldine Fasnacht: Guardian angel in the avalanche

28 Apr 2014

"It was a fantastic powder day, with blue skies and good conditions, a perfect day to shoot a film. We were filming close to the gondola and were aiming to shoot enough footage for the season. As I stood at the top preparing for this run, I thought that the conditions were still good enough. That was an error. I hadn't realised that the snow cover had changed very suddenly due to a rise in temperature. It took quite a while to prepare for the run and around the middle of the slope, I noticed the difference. But by then it was already too late. As I came to the last steep section, directly in the sunshine, it happened: A wind slab broke away and the avalanche revealed its full might. Initially, I thought that the wind slab was just a little slide – but that was not the case. I was caught up in the middle of a large avalanche, it was impossible to get away. For the first time in 15 years as a professional, I activated my ABS avalanche airbag. I located the activation handle quickly and easily, and within seconds both airbags had filled with air. It was as if I had wings: my ABS TwinBag pulled me up and held me on the surface. I was carried along with the avalanche for another 300 meters or so, but my position was stable and I was no longer being swept down without control. When the avalanche came to a halt, I found myself outside the avalanche cone. I  had a lot of snow in the mouth, but I was uninjured. I quickly freed myself from the masses of snow to make my way to safety as rapidly as possible.

The accident was a shocking experience. This experience confirmed to me once again that I must never go out without an airbag. In any case, I was very happy that I had my ABS backpack with me at that critical moment."