It's hard to breathe—let alone think—when you're trapped under a wall of snow or submerged in a frozen pond.
As unlikely as these situations may seem, it doesn't hurt to be armed with basic survival skills...just in case.
If you're traveling through a snowy mountain pass or planning a ski trip, the Forest Service National Avalanche Center says to always carry a beacon, shovel and probe pole.
Many avalanche victims die when carbon dioxide builds up in the snow around their mouths and noses, which can cause carbon dioxide poisoning. Use your hands to clear a space in front of your mouth. Then, push your hand toward the surface. The Utah Avalanche Center reports that chances of survival increase dramatically if rescuers find you within 15 minutes.
It Happened to Me...
One afternoon, David and June Boon were driving to their cabin in Winter Park, Colorado, when a wall of snow and ice—200 feet wide and 15 feet high—came crashing down on their car. The fierce avalanche swept the Boons off the road and sent their car over the guardrail, where it flipped four times and plummeted 200 feet. The car came to a crashing halt when it hit a tree.
After several minutes, David managed to free himself from his seat belt and crawl out of a window. He went to the other side of the car to help dig June's head out of the snow, which was still piling around her. He used a pocketknife to free her from her seat belt and pulled her to safety.