Professional skier Elyse Saugstad was caught in an avalanche while out and about in the Stevens Pass resort in the north-east mountains of the US. Three of her friends died, but Saugstad made it through thanks to her portable airbag.
The avalanche dragged the group of 12 skiers some 3,000ft down the mountain. Saugstad said of the nightmare: "It's kind of like you're in a washing machine, you're being tossed and turned. You don't know which way is up, but the system keeps you up above. It literally was like being in cement. All I could do was keep the snow off my face and wait for my friends."
We're recently seen a snowboarder escape an avalanche thanks to a similar inflatable backpack, so it appears there's a new essential extreme sports item to check in for those heading off to the sportier parts of the world. [ABC News via BBC]