Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek

The story of 16 world-class skiers and snowboarders who decided to go skiing together in Washington’s Cascades in February 2012, and what happened to them when an avalanche hit. This six-part series uses interviews, photos, videos and simulations to reconstruct the day:

“‘Just as I had the thought about what I’m going to do, wondering if it was going to bury me, that’s right when I could feel it,’ Castillo said. ‘It was like a wave. Like when you’re in the ocean and the tide moves away from you. You’re getting thrashed and you feel it pull out and you’re like, O.K., I can stand up now.’

“Castillo saw daylight again. His camera captured snow sliding past his legs for another 13 seconds. The forest sounded as if it were full of sickly frogs. It was the trees, scrubbed of their fresh snow, still swaying and creaking around him.

“Castillo turned to look back up the hill.

“‘Where there were three people, there was nobody,’ Castillo said.”

Published: Dec 20, 2012
Length: 70 minutes (17,639 words)
Read the story