Professional freerider Aymar Navarro survives avalanche in Aran valley

25/01/2013

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.