Edwin and Davis LaMair of Colorado survived a terrifying avalanche while skiing on the mountains of Vail. The two brothers were heading downhill fast when Edwin was overtaken by the tons of snow, but he was fortunate enough that his younger brother Davis and a friend Jack Edgar were there to dig him out— and the whole incident was captured on camera.
Edwin and Davis LaMair were skiing with their friend when Edwin decided to go down the mountain on a back trail. Although the brothers had checked in advance and saw low probability of an avalanche, they were still unprepared when it happened; Edwin, 22, said the snow began cracking and sliding underneath him.
"I kind of fell headfirst downhill, and that's when I realized I was in an avalanche," Edwin said on the "Today" show. "I was worried when I couldn't get the mouthpiece for the breathing device back in my mouth, and I inhaled some snow, so I felt like I was choking or wasn't able to breathe."
Edwin estimated that he slid down the mountain about 800 feet. 19-year-old Davis didn't witness the incident when it first began, but once the avalanche got underway, he managed to spot his older brother.
"I couldn't see anything it was white on white," he said. "Then I started to see debris flow down, and then Edwin slid down at the end of the avalanche."
Davis raced down the mountain, and fortunately, Edwin ended up about 100 yards away. The GoPro camera attached to the younger brother's helmet captured Edwin's frantic cries of "dig me out!" Davis was able to do so, and his brother survived with only a torn ACL and MCL, which he will have surgery for later this week.
The brothers admitted that they were lucky because of the timing of the avalanche— had the snow slid later in the day with less light, Edwin could have been much harder to find. Edwin and Davis LaMair were avalanche safety certified, though, with avalanche probes, beacons and shovels on their person while skiing.
Edwin is thankful for his brother's quick thinking and instant reaction.
"I'll have his back any time we're doing any backcountry activity or anything in the mountains, and I'll always be looking out for him just like he did for me," Edwin said.