Professional freerider Aymar Navarro survives avalanche in Aran valley

25 Jan 2013

It was on the 25th of January 2013 and it had snowed for days in the Aran Valley. The snow pack was more than 4 meters deep. On this day we had a warm, bluebird day!! The conditions were just amazing for filming and for skiing but the snow pack was also a little unstable in steep terrain. We had been looking at different areas for filming and finally we decided to go for the least exposed and less steep one.

The 3 camera men, the mountain guide and myself were all ready when the heli arrived. We then took off from the parking lot of Beret and overflew the area where I was supposed to do the descent ….

They left me at the ridge where I had to walk for a few meters in order to get to my run. I put my skis on, I checked my ABS pack and then they gave me the signal from the heli where the camera man Nil Torremocha was filming.

3, 2, 1 dropping, then a few turns when I suddenly realized that the whole face was cracking very quickly. I leaned back and went straight down in order to overtake the avalanche but it already was very, very big and getting bigger every second.

I went down straight for a few meters until the avalanche swallowed me ......... I remember that I started to tomahawk down the mountain without stopping. I was aware that a very big avalanche had caught me and I only thought that I needed to activate my ABS pack somehow. I was quickly able to do so and stopped moving shortly after! However just a few seconds later another part  of the avalanche hit me and I was tomahawking down the mountain again. The most incredible thing was that thanks to the two balloons that open when you activate the pack I was always on top of the avalanche, and they also protected me from a lot of impact and possible injuries… I only hoped that it would stop!!!!!!!!!  And it stopped .... I was buried up to my chest but my head wasn’t and I could breathe perfectly.

The helicopter located me quickly and the guide came quickly to dig me out as I wasn’t able to get out of the avalanche debris on my own.

At the end it all was only a very scary experience and a very good lesson I have learned a lot from.