“For whoever’s going to watch this, see this, go get your training. Go spend the few bucks. Your snowmobile clubs put on free trainings too. Just go have fun and be safe about it.” –Anthony Kluesner
22-year-old snowmobiler Anthony Kluesner is an open book about his February 25th avalanche incident near Cooke City, Montana and he is hoping his experience will encourage other people in the backcountry to seek out proper avalanche education.
KTVQ reports Kluesner was having an absolute blast with his friends ripping around the Mount Abundance area but that all came to an abrupt halt when he triggered an avalanche that buried him and his Polaris snowmobile in a pile of heavy, suffocating snow.
“I went over to the right and was climbing it. Did a cool backcountry move and I slipped up the side of my running board. I was trying to get the snowmobile to stop, and I was just going to go back down the bottom and try again. The next thing I knew, just dead, heavy weight was just coming over the top of me.”
Kluesner was only momentarily submerged but his perception of time slowed down during the terrifying experience:
“When I was under the snow, it felt like I was under there for 2 minutes, 3 minutes. But really, it was only 10, 20 seconds I was fully buried but just that whole not breathing, seeing nothing, it just, I think it kind of put me in shock a little bit.”
His leg got caught in the snowmobile during his uncontrolled descent, which sounds like a bad thing, but it actually may have prevented him getting fully buried when he came to a rest:
“At some point, I think it had one more roll. The snowmobile, with it hooked up to my leg, the handlebars. I truly believe that’s what saved my life. My snowmobile pulling me out of the snow like that.”
Thankfully Kluesner was not alone and had the help of a group of nearby skiers to assist in his rescue:
“There was about a group of ten backcountry skiers like ten yards away. They saw the whole thing happen, and they were on top of me within a minute. Everyone that was around me was right there on top of me. But it took them 8 minutes to dig my waist out, down to my feet.”
After his brush with burial Kluesner wants urge others who travel in the backcountry to seek proper avalanche training and to remember what happened to him can happen to anybody. For avalanche education resources PLEASE GO HERE: