Published: Sat, January 14, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Whistler snowboarder captures on video how he survived avalanche with airbag backpack

Whistler snowboarder captures on video how he survived avalanche with airbag backpack

An early birthday present has come to the rescue of an Australian snowboarder, whose remarkable ride down a Canadian hillside was eased by his new inflatable avalanche backpack.

The screen on Oye's helmet camera suddenly fills with white as he descends through the avalanche.

Mr Oye posted video of the incident on his Facebook page yesterday, where it's been be viewed more than three million times.

Tom Oye, 29, lived to post the video thanks to a pricey backpack that can inflate like a car's airbag.

"First thing you need to do is take an avalanche safety course so you understand the terrain you're getting into and the snow pack", he says.

During the terrifying fall, Mr Oye inflates his backpack, specifically created to keep skiers and snowboarders near the surface in an avalanche.

Those wouldn't really be the words we would choose, but that's exactly how Adelaide snowboarder Tom Oye described his trip down a mountain in Whistler, Canada to his snow companion.

Oye's bag worked properly and the video shows him staying mostly above the snow as he is sucked down the slope.

"Oh shit", Oye can be heard saying as the avalanche starts to slow. "But it was a bit scary", Marlene Oye said. "But it was a bit scary".

"These backpacks are just over $1,000 typically", said Jarrett Zavitz of Vancouver's Comor Sports, which sells the Jetforce. It also automatically deflates after 3 minutes to give wearers an air pocket in case they're buried. "But when you talk specifically about equipment, at the very very minimum in avalanche terrain you need to have a transceiver, a probe and a shovel".

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