Caused by sliding snow and ice, avalanches can turn picturesque mountain peaks into death traps capable of killing anything in their path.
All it takes is close video footage to show how powerful these disasters can be.
Footage capturing the destructive potential of avalanches is now becoming more common thanks to ubiquitous cell phones equipped with high-definition cameras.
One such video out of Colorado, likely shot on a cell phone, captures a snow slide Sunday that quickly blanketed a large portion of Interstate 70.
As Denver’s Fox 31 reported, the avalanche happened at Ten Mile Canyon near Frisco.
And as quickly as it appeared, the avalanche settled, leaving only a white cloud of snow dust in its wake.
Jacob Easton, the man who shot the video, told Fox 31 what it was like to be confronted by the wall of white.
“All of a sudden, me and my dad just saw a big white cloud to the left of us and we instantly noticed the avalanche,” Easton told the station. “It’s exciting, but pretty nerve wracking, because you don’t know when it’s going to stop.”
Footage from a second vehicle shows that it wasn’t just a camera angle making this slide look massive. Filmed by way of a rear-view mirror, it doesn’t make the avalanche look any smaller.
According to Fox 31, not a single person was injured. All the cars at the end of the avalanche just received a light dusting of snow, and the interstate was able to open with little delay.
Those Colorado drivers were lucky — avalanches don’t always end without taking a life.
For instance, a series of avalanches in 2015 killed over 300 people in Afghanistan, the U.K. Telegraph reported.
To those living outside the range of snow-capped mountains, avalanches may seem like just a little bit of snow. Nothing can be further from the truth.
According to National Geographic, the natural disasters can move over one million tons of material at speeds of 200 miles per hour.
That’s a lot of momentum that not much can withstand.
The drivers on Interstate 70 may have dodged a bullet.
A closer avalanche could have easily buried them in their vehicles, forcing a grueling rescue operation — or a lot worse.
Thankfully they escaped with only a light dusting, some epic footage, and one heck of a story.
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