A heavy snowfall this winter combined with increased skiing and snowboarding has led to January being the deadliest month for avalanches than any in the past 20 years. 

At Mammoth Mountain in California one skier captured just how startling getting caught in an avalanche can be. Tyler Karow was above a cornice planning on skiing down through a narrow gap, but as soon as Karow dropped in and took a single turn the entire hillside gave way. 

“At the start of my line, I could feel some instability and mistakenly dropped in parallel to the cornice. At that moment, the snow slid and I was immediately swept downhill,” Karow wrote in the description of the Youtube video he posted.

Karow swam with his arms to keep himself afloat until the slide stabilized. He found himself only partially buried and called out to his friends.

“I was incredibly lucky to be unharmed and able to ride out the rest of my line,” he wrote.

Another skier in Park City, Utah was not so lucky. When he failed to return home after a trip to the backcountry outside Park City Mountain Resort, rescue crews mounted a search for Stephen Jones, 50. 

The next day crews made the grizzly discovery of the man’s body. He had apparently been swept up in an avalanche that measured 60 feet wide and 500 feet long, according to ABC News.

His death marked the second avalanche death in Utah this winter. 

Photo credit: Youtube