Skier found alive after being partially buried by avalanche in Salt Lake City

ByJanai Norman ABCNews logo
Sunday, December 18, 2022
Skier in Salt Lake City found alive after partially buried by avalanche
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A skier buried by an avalanche lucky to be spotted and saved and now thankful to be alive.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah -- A skier is thankful to be alive after an incredible rescue in the Utah wilderness.

The skier was lucky to be spotted and saved after being buried by an avalanche.

"All of a sudden, this whole slope collapsed and there was just a wall of snow that was coming at me, you know, 40, 50 miles an hour," said Travis Haussener.

The 35-year-old was buried in snow up to his chest for 45 minutes Wednesday. The avalanche, approximately 200 feet wide, slamming him into a tree while skiing Neff's Canyon in Utah.

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"And so my first thought was, okay, it's over. Like, that was my life, right," Haussener said.

Haussener shouting for help for nearly an hour while trying to dig himself out.

"[I] started hearing what I thought was a -- most likely an animal making noises," a firefighter said.

The off-duty firefighter was skiing with his dog when he heard the cries for help and called 911.

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"He was pinned against the tree. He was buried. He was wrapped around the tree of the -- just his head and arms exposed," he recalled.

A rescue team on a helicopter was unable to reach Haussener, so search and rescuers had to come dig him out and take him down the mountain by snowmobile to a waiting ambulance.

"I'm super grateful for all the people that that, you know, got me out of there. But, you know, I wouldn't be me if I didn't want to go out and ski again. So first thing I'll probably do once I heal up is go skiing," Haussener said.