Aside from being attacked by a mountain lion, getting caught in the middle of an avalanche is probably a Coloradan's worst nightmare. As Mashable reports, that became a reality for multiple people who were driving down a highway near Denver on March 3.
On Sunday, two separate avalanches ripped down a mountainside in Summit County's Ten Mile Canyon. The first one sent plumes of snow across Interstate 70 between Copper Mountain and the nearby town of Frisco, Colorado. Later that evening, a second, heavier avalanche caused the same highway to shut down for three hours.
No one was injured and no cars were buried in either instance, but video footage of the phenomenon shows just how bad it could have been. In one video posted to Twitter by Jeremy Hubbard, an anchor with local Fox affiliate KDVR, a driver puts his or her car in reverse and starts backing up as the snow rushes towards their vehicle. Further ahead, one truck seems to disappear into the snowy mist. However, according to Hubbard, the bulk of the snow never reached the road in the first avalanche.
The second avalanche was also a close call for many people. One driver named Will captured the action in his side view mirror, which you can watch in the video below. (Warning: He uses some adult language.)
Avalanches are not an uncommon sight at Colorado's Berthoud Pass and Red Mountain Pass, but they seldom occur along I-70. In this particular instance, "heavy snow across the high mountains created conditions favorable for avalanches," The Denver Post explained. Sometimes, when there's a build-up of snow, the Colorado Department of Transportation will proactively shut down highways and conduct controlled avalanches in order to prevent potentially dangerous incidents like what happened on Sunday.
For skiers and snowboarders, safety precautions are especially important. Avalanche beacons (devices that send your location to rescue crews) can be lifesavers. Read up here on some of the other guidelines you can follow to save yourself should disaster strike.