Maurice Kervin, 25, was snowboarding at No Name Peak near Loveland Pass in Summit County when he suddenly turned around to find a deluge of snow quickly coming down behind him.
Kervin, an experienced back country skier but amateur snowboarder from Denver, had only just begun his descent down the mountain when he triggered the avalanche.
Maurice Kervin, 25, was snowboarding down Colorado mountain near Denver
Cracks appeared in the snow and within moments an avalanche occurred
The drama was caught on camera as Kervin came down the slope
He managed to capture the entire heart-stopping experience on video.
‘I was in awe of how big it was, and very thankful that I was alive, honestly, or not buried, not fatally injured,’ Kervin told
Kervin said how he knew something was wrong after he suddenly saw ‘shooting cracks’ breaking out in the snow beneath him.
‘The snow is breaking into blocks, essentially, and it looks like shooting cracks or spider webs in front of you in the snow as it like breaks apart,’ he said.
Kervin is an experienced skier having been on the slopes since he as a little boy but he admits that he is an amateur when it comes to snowboarding
Video footage shows enormous cracks appearing in the snow and then the ice breaking up
Blocks of snow began tumbling down the mountain as the avalanche gathered pace
As the snow started to drag him under, Kervin deployed his avalanche airbag contained in his backpack in order to keep him on top of the snow.
In an avalanche, larger objects rise to the surface, while smaller objects sink to the bottom.
The airbag system incorporated into his backpack sees a large balloon inflate at the pull of a cord.
It is designed to make the person wearing it larger so that they naturally rise to the surface of the snow and prevent the person wearing it from being buried.
‘I dropped my ax and my camera that was in my back hand and pulled my airbag, which helped me float above the snow,’ Kervin said. ‘I was able to get my feet above the snow after going off a small cliff and able to float on top of the snow until I came to a stop.’
‘I’m good. I’m good. I’m good. I’m good. I’m clean. I’m safe. I’m safe,’ Kervin can be heard saying in the video.
Video footage perfectly captures the moment when the snow began to break up
Kervin was uninjured but believes he was carried around 1,000 feet by the snow
Kervin went up the mountain with a friend and had believed that it was safe conditions to do so
Kervin believes he tumbled around 1,000 feet as the snow made its way down the mountain.
He admits that he knew conditions on the slopes were risky but along with a friend he had checked conditions and felt it was safe enough for them to make their downhill run.
‘I’m not going to condone anybody trying to go do what I did. That’s my own personal choice. Be safe in the backcountry and understand risk assessment and where you stand.
‘As anybody who has ever been caught in an avalanche might say, we thought that we were in the clear and so we decided that it was a go, and it clearly wasn’t,’ he said.
Over the last decade, around 27 people have died in avalanches each year in the U.S., with 23 people killed in 2020 alone.
Kervin is pictured performing a jump on his snowboard in a picture from his Instagram page
Kervin deployed an avalanche airbag which kept him on top of the tumbling snow, file photo