The winner of the Freeride World Tour 2008 - Xavier De Le Rue - survives avalanche with ABS

28 Mar 2008

(...) "the abs just saved my life, I should even say that it makes me being here today a big miracle."

It took me a while to take pictures from me with the abs but in the last few days all I can say is that I couldn't get a better way of showing into action the use of the abs. I just came out of the hospital with no trouble, a little sore but no big deal.

Few things I want to say: first I won't be able to thank you enough for having given me this backpack, you saved my life by doing this.

thanks again for trusting in me
xv

And this is what happend:

Speed is not always enough...even though you might hear me pretty often claiming that speed is your best friend in freeriding.
Doing the right choice at the right time is not always easy. In the first section of the avalanche, it seems to work quite well. The slab brakes, i just get out of it and point down with the monster on my back and it seems that I'm gonna laugh about it at the end of that straight line until I see these weird lines forming all around me. I carry some serious speed but not enough.

That mountain wants me down and down I'm going. It's time to pull my abs... It's really big and as it breaks again even after that, and on a much bigger section, I don't feel tumbled for very long. A few memories when my friends find me maybe two km lower but nothing really till the hospital. When they found me on top of maybe six meters of snow, they didn't think that I could be safe. Miracles happen, and soon I get to realize that it's been a miracle to still be alive after that.

After these two days of shooting in the area, that slope didn't show a bad aspect at all and this avalanche or at least these proportions where completely unexpected. Apparently a guide that was riding in the same area got is client into an avalanche in the same type of slope, same angle, exposition, altitude etc(and also saved by the abs); He had been riding that slope couple of times the same day and the day before and nothing had apparently moved.

The temperature rose drastically at that time and that north facing became suddenly full of surprises.... Anyways, I know I'm more than lucky and some of that luck is to have had an abs back pack. The pictures tell enough to realize it....

A good sign for me... I'll be looking closer to my terrain in the future but most of all it's a great sign to listen better to my surroundings in the future. Filming with a heli is... amazing but it takes a lot of that time to communicate and to feel what's around and what's so much bigger than you.

Photo: Christoffer Sjöström, www.christoffersjostrom.com