Emily Anderson had just finished one of the best runs of her life on Crystal Mountain. But a lifetime of skiing didn’t prepare the 20-year-old Allyn resident for what happened next.
“I saw a slide break underneath my feet and I heard it. There was nothing I could do. It just started to sweep me off,” recalled Anderson. “I remember going down and not being able to stop and going ‘Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh.’”
"My first reaction was I could easily die right here," she said.
A small avalanche hit Tuesday afternoon in the Northway portion of Crystal Mountain, soon after the gates opened. Emily was skiing in bounds with her friend Will when the wall of snow came down. Will was able to escape it, but the snow swept Emily into a tree well.
“I was able to free my left arm to scoop snow away from my mouth, so I made a little air pocket,” said Anderson. “I prayed a lot and just sat there and waited to be rescued. It was kind of an eerie feeling because I couldn’t hear anybody above me, so I wasn’t sure if I was alone or there were people looking.”
Anderson was buried for 10 to 15 minutes, barely able to move and barely able to breathe. But members of the ski patrol and other skiers were nearby and found her before it was too late.
“I felt a probe hit me from people above. I was so relieved because I knew exactly what it was,” said Anderson.
Despite the fact that she could have easily died on the mountain yesterday, Anderson says she can’t wait to get back there. But this time, she’ll be better prepared. And she hopes others will learn from her lesson as well.
“Pretty much the average skier, they need to be educated and have the equipment because it could save their life or someone else’s,” said Anderson.
Before she goes skiing again, Anderson plans on buying an avalanche beacon and taking avalanche safety courses.