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Snowmobilers survive close call with avalanche in Utah, capture it on video

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Posted at 10:09 AM, Feb 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-08 12:09:30-05

UINTA MOUNTAINS, Utah — A snowmobiler caught an avalanche on camera Saturday in Utah's mountains.

Miles Penrose of Draper was riding in an area very familiar to him in the Uintas Saturday when it happened.

"As I finished recording my brother playing in the pow, the mountain shook. My original thought was... earthquake. [Then] it [hit] me, avalanche. As I turned and looked up I could see the snow wave coming," he wrote on Facebook.

He posted this video showing the terrifying sight of a wall of snow blasting toward his group of sled riders:

(Warning: The following videos contain language that may be offensive to some viewers)

Penrose said he yelled at his brother to warn him of the incoming slide. When the avalanche reached them, he pulled on his "chute" or avalanche backpack that contains an airbag — but he said it wasn't turned on, so nothing happened.

"Somehow I only moved about 20 yards and stayed on top of the snow (MIRACLE) . Only being buried to my lower chest I dug myself out," he wrote.

When the chaos settled, Penrose said he heard his brother calling for help. Fortunately, he was able to find him and dig him out safely.

Everyone else in their group also made it out safely.

This all occurred the same day that four skiers died after being buried in an avalanche in Millcreek Canyon.

The Utah Avalanche Center said there were two "close calls" with avalanches Saturday: one in American Fork Canyon, where a snowmobiler was almost buried, and another near Moffit Peak in the Uintas. It was unknown as of Saturday if the latter was the same incident that Penrose's group experienced. It was also not known what triggered the slide.

This story was originally published by Spencer Burt at Fox 13 in Salt Lake City.