VAIL, Colo. - Skiers triggered two avalanches in the backcountry near Vail Sunday, including one that trapped a skier who was rescued by his brother.
According to Scott Toepfer's forecast for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, the two wind slab avalanches occurred on steep east and southeast terrain of the East Vail Chutes. The area is located between Vail Pass and the Vail Ski area. In the second of the two Avalanches, Edwin LaMair was buried.
"Once I started sliding headfirst down the hill it sunk in that I was in a big avalanche, and this was really happening, and I might die," Edwin LaMair told ABC News Correspondent Clayton Sandell.
LaMair was skiing with his brother Davis, who was wearing a camera. It recorded his observation of the avalanche and the rush to help his brother.
"I was trying to swim as hard as I could to get to the top," Edwin LaMair said. "I was immensely relieved when I realized that my face was above the surface, and I could breathe."
Luckily, the LaMairs were able to rescue themselves. Toepfer wrote that ski patrol would not have been able to help, because the avalanche occurred just before dark.
Edwin suffered just an injury to his knee.
Avalanche conditions are rated from "moderate" to "considerable" in mountainous parts of Colorado.
The Avalanche Information Center shows the areas of highest danger currently are in Steamboat and Flat Tops, where 18 inches or more of new snowfall has accumulated in the past four days. In those areas, dangers are highest near or above the tree line.
Toepfer's forecast included two comments for safely skiing backcountry areas in these conditions:
"First, riders should always watch their partners on their descent to a safe area in case of a slide. Number two is to take pole straps off your wrists before starting down your line," he wrote.