Haines skier survives fatal avalanche using airbag backpack

An avalanche near Haines on Sunday swept away a heliskiing guide and three others. Details on the incident are still sketchy, but the guide died and two of the others were seriously injured. A fourth skier escaped serious injury after deploying an inflatable bladder carried in a backpack, says Haines author and commentator Heather Lende -- and that skier is the boyfriend of one of her daughters.

Bryan said he felt the telltale “whump” of doom and “knew” and pulled the cord on his red inflatable airbag as if it was a parachute and he was exiting a burning airplane. He had purchased the $1300 device with some money his grandmother left him. He wore a helmet my daughter made him buy this season. He tumbled along the top, and over and under and back up again—for about 1,000 feet, he guesses, but still isn’t sure. The ride left the others battered and bleeding. Bryan doesn’t have a scratch. Not a black eye or a bloody lip.  

Read more from Lende on her blog: Dark news on a bluebird day