Wyoming snowmobilers survive after being buried by an avalanche caught on camera

During the 2022-23 season, 30 people were killed in nearly a dozen western states, with Colorado leading the way with nine fatal incidents.

LINCOLN COUNTY, Wyo. – A group of snowmobilers on an outing in Wyoming’s Star Valley were caught off-guard by a sudden rush of snow, burying at least one in more than two feet of powder during an avalanche.

The entire incident was captured on a helmet camera that showed snowmobiler Mason Zak coming face to face with the avalanche.

According to witnesses, Zak tried to seek shelter ahead of the approaching rush of powder but was ultimately buried under 2 to 3 feet of snow.

Other members of the group suffered a similar fate but were able to free themselves before helping look for survivors.

"We think he was under for about seven minutes. He was conscious, just a little confused, but pumped to be alive and have all of us uncovered and safe," Jake Dahl told Storyful, a content gathering company.


In the dramatic video, you can hear one of the snowmobilers bracing for the moment debris and snow came raining down and then an eerie silence, with only the sound of breathing apparent.

Despite the event, none of the winter sports enthusiasts reported anything more than a few pumps and maybe a few bruises.

"We just wanted to share this story to raise some awareness and help save lives! It can happen to anyone," Dahl stated.

Other avalanche accidents were reported in Wyoming around the time Dahl and his friends were caught off guard.

According to data compiled by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, a backcountry skier triggered an avalanche at an elevation of around 8,500 feet in Prater Canyon on Jan. 14. One skier was ultimately buried and killed during the event.

And on Feb. 9, two snowmobilers reportedly triggered an avalanche at an altitude of around 9,800’ near Battle Pass, Wyoming.

The CAIC said a 34-year-old male was buried by the flow, but life-saving rescue efforts by a second rider were not successful.


According to the National Weather Service, significant temperature swings or strong wind events outside of human-caused impacts can make the snowpack unstable and lead to avalanches.

The agency estimates that in incidents that humans are involved in, some 90% of events are triggered by the victim or someone in the party.

Around 27 people die in the U.S. each year due to avalanches, with Colorado often labeled as the most dangerous state for winter sports enthusiasts.