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Snowboarder stuck in tree well saved by skier on Mount Baker, Wash.

A heart-stopping, nightmare-like, video is making the rounds on social media showing the rescue of a Mount Baker snowboarder who got caught in a tree well.

The video, which was originally posted to Youtube, was captured on a Go-Pro by avid skier Francis Zuber who was skiing out-of-bounds on the Washington mountain – located about 140 kilometers southeast of Vancouver – back in March.

“I was with a ski buddy, and we picked a line to go through and meet up at this valley. I was going a little quicker than I would of liked .. so I do a little jump turn to sort of bail and re-set myself.

“It’s a good thing I did … because I go through that second little corridor of trees to go out to the exit, and that’s where I caught this flash of red out of the corner of my eye,” Zuber told CityNews.

Knowing immediately something was up, Zuber begins to call out to what he then realizes is a snowboarder submerged head first in the snow.

“I knew there was somebody attached to it, and obviously they were still alive. I shout out to the guy … he can’t hear me, he’s five and a half to six feet into the snow at that point.”

Zuber then gets to work, beginning the laborious task of digging this person out by hand. Knowing he may only have a couple of minutes.

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“I was really scared, I thought this person was going to die because I couldn’t get to them in time.”

After minutes of frantic work, the video shows Zuber finally reaching the buried snowboarder, helping the individual clear his airway so he can breathe.

“Once I cleared his airway and he was breathing, you hear me say in the video, ‘We’re both going to catch our breath for a second.’ Because I knew he’d be okay at that point.”

The video eventually ends with Zuber pulling equipment from his bag, such as a snow shovel, to fully dig out the snowboarder.

“First thing we did was give each other a big hug, and he thanked me for stopping, told me I saved a life that day.”

Zuber, a Washington resident, says the pair have become good friends and have even gone skiing together on Mt. Baker since the incident.

The lesson from all of this is a complicated one.

“One of the scariest things about this is that the lesson isn’t as obvious as a lot of instances.

“You see avalanche incidents or what have you where maybe someone was in over their head .. but the scary thing with this is that it was somebody who had snowboarded Baker their entire life.”

Things like this can happen even to the most experienced riders, according to Zuber.

So if you’re heading into the backcountry, don’t only come prepared, but always ski with a partner and try to keep them within eyesight.

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