Strangers Dig Man Out of Snow with Their Bare Hands After Avalanche Hits California Ski Resort

A video shows people furiously digging through the snow to save a trapped snowboarder

A group of people at a California ski resort dug a man out from under the snow using their bare hands and shovels after an avalanche trapped five skiers and snowboarders on Friday.

One of the victims was hospitalized with a serious lower body injury and another person was treated and released, according to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. The other three were unharmed.

Snowboarder Hearing Turner told CNN that she was celebrating her birthday at the Squaw Valley resort when the avalanche hit.

“It looked like a blazing cloud of snow coming down,” she said. “It went pretty fast.”

She then heard a woman start screaming, “My husband, my husband!” and saw only the tip of a snowboard under the snow. A video shows people furiously digging to get him out.


The day began overcast and snowing, but after a blizzard had struck earlier, conditions seemed ideal for a day on the slopes, Turner recalls.

“Crowds were literally woohoo-ing constantly, you’re high-fiving every stranger you see,” she said.

The avalanche at the Squaw Valley resort was one of two that occurred in California within the past week. The other happened on Saturday at Mammoth Mountain and resulted in minor injuries, according to NBC.

Mike Wetherell, who was on the mountain during the incident, told the news outlet that it suddenly went from “hoots and hollers” to very quiet.

“It happened too quick from the time we saw it, it was only two seconds, until it had already plowed through everybody,” he said.

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