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Feb 18, 2021

Buried Alive—and Running Out of Time

What do we ultimately learn when we make it through worst-case scenarios? (Photo: Albina Kidinova/iStock)
Glove buried in snow after avalanche .

It was a glorious powder day in the Sierra Nevada when three friends set off into the backcountry at dawn. They had tons of experience and all the essential emergency gear, so they were unfazed by the fact that the local avalanche center had listed the danger that day as considerable. As the trio saw it, if you wanted to enjoy good skiing conditions in the backcountry, you had to accept some risk. But then, in an instant, a slide buried one of them and the other two began a frantic search to find him and save his life before he ran out of air. In this episode, the first of a two-part special exploring our relationship to the hazards of avalanches, we chronicle a miraculous survival story and ask what we ultimately learn when we make it through worst-case scenarios.  


This episode is brought to you by Belize, one of the world’s great adventure destinations and a country that’s created a comprehensive and commonsense COVID-19 safety system for travelers. Learn more about how you can safely experience the wonders of Belize at travelbelize.org.

The Outside Podcast

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Outside’s longstanding literary storytelling tradition comes to life in audio with features that will both entertain and inform listeners. We launched in March 2016 with our first series, Science of Survival, which was developed in partnership with PRX, distributors of the idolized This American Life and The Moth Radio Hour, among others. We have since expanded our show and now offer a range of story formats, including interviews with the biggest figures in sports, adventure, and politics, as well as reports from our correspondents in the field.