Snowboarder survives avalanche in East Vail backcountry

A snowboarder buried in an avalanche Saturday was rescued by his partner after he was caught in the slide in the backcountry southeast of Vail, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

The snowboarder was caught around 11 a.m. in the East Vail backcountry, on a northeast facing slope below treeline at about 10,000 feet. He was carried through trees and buried with his head under about a foot-and-a-half of snow, according to the CAIC’s report.

The snowboarder was able to make an air pocket in front of his face, and was able to use his AvaLung, a safety device designed to help people trapped in avalanches breathe for longer under the snow.

Another person who was with the snowboarder was not caught in the avalanche, and used an avalanche beacon to find the trapped snowboarder. The partner then dug up the snowboarder, freeing him after about 10 or or 15 minutes.

The snowboarder was not hurt.

Eight people in Colorado have been killed in avalanches so far this season, according to the CAIC, and conditions are particularly dangerous this weekend.

Gov. Jared Polis on Thursday issued a warning about the increased danger ahead of Presidents Day weekend, which is expected to bring a surge of people into the mountains.

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