Today we got up close and personal with the real deal. We are a couple of the lucky ones. It was just my wife and I out having a good time in the Pilot’s Peak area (Idaho City, Idaho). I’m very lucky to have a wife that can ride in the back country with me. Sun was shinning blue bird day nothing but giggles as we enjoyed the winter wonderland on a mountian we had all to ourselves. I checked the avi reports for the surrounding areas and seen moderate to considerable conditions as usual. I’ve been a snowmobiler / snow biker for 20+ years. I’m not new to the danger and try to be cautious of the obvious danger zones, wind loaded slopes, chute areas, etc. Not saying I won’t launch a cornice here and there. I am a adrenaline junkie, knowing the risk is there and analyzing the runout is always a part of the thought process. Today wasn’t one of those days it was just a “tootle with the wife“ we motored down a northwest facing slope “nothing that was so steep our bikes could not go straight up” between treed areas and it let loose behind me! My wife watched it go under me so she stopped. I seen the fluff coming around me and a handful of throttle got me out of harms way, unfortunately a second crack let loose under my wife behind me. She was able to keep her head and deployed her avi bag. It kept the snow from engulfing her face. She swam in the slide like we have all heard we should do and it along with her avi bag made for a happy ending.
We are here to tell the story!
We can tribute that to having the necessary safety gear among other things that helped, we have PCI radios with helmet mic and speakers; they came into play instantly. She was able to communicate to me that she was ok, as I could not see her. At that point I could settle down a little bit and focus on a wider area as she waved her arms flinging snow into the air. My vantage point at this time was the bottom of the run out where I had circled back to. I learned and believe this is valuable advice: Don’t try to make your way up walking through the snow rubble to look or gain access.
Admittedly, I was panicked to a point I tried this first...it’s hard to trudge through and get at whom ever quickly!
Ride your horse up above if you can safely do so, as your able to zero in on a signal direction from a beacon quickly going down hill on foot. I was able to get to her quickly and get her out of the snow that had her concreted in. After calming down for a minute. It was time to find the buried bike. We have trail tec voyager pros so I was able to get a close idea of its location with the buddy following so we did not have to spend much time probing for it ! It was 3-4 feet under the snow so it took a while to shovel out. Buddy following saved a lot of time and was an asset in this situation. The next hurdle was getting out with amplified fear. I had just dug my wife out and the thought of having to do it again terrified me. Any open slope with no trees was out in my fearful mind, as the wife’s avi pack had been deployed and no longer the god sent tool it was. Thankfully we routed out safely. I didn’t put this hear to have a bunch of criticisms as every one of us has done what I have done many times. I put this here to highlight the importance of our safety gear and a mind able to use it. I’m very lucky to have a wife that can still ride in the back country with me .........We will continue to LIVE LIFE !!!!