I want to preface this post by saying that the kids are fine, we are fine, and our truck is fine. But Monday on our way home from Kirkwood, we were hit by an avalanche. It could have been worse, but we are fine. Scott and I stayed very calm after it happened and it was just a matter of waiting for Caltrans to dig and tow us out.
We went up to Kirkwood (our favorite resort) to celebrate Scott’s 40th birthday. We arrived Saturday. The weather originally forecasted Monday as a light snow day. But of course this changed. Monday morning we were debating on staying until Tuesday, but when we saw the weather and the amount of snow falling (wet heavy snow at that) we decided to stay on our schedule. And good thing we did, as they closed all passes and we certain they closed 88 after the avalanche hit our truck.
At approximately 11:00 am we were about 2 miles out of the Kirkwood resort when we came upon stopped cars. I should mention that there is a very small area for avalanche risk out of Kirkwood, probably less than 1/4 of a mile. But for some reason there were a few cars stopped heading down the mountain right in the avalanche zone. As we waited, we suddenly felt a huge impact on our truck and thought a car behind us lost control and hit us. I tried to open my door, Scott tried to open his, and I tried Ethan’s, but they would not open. We were so confused! I rolled down my window and crawled out. I looked back at the truck to find this wasn’t a crash, rather, a large amount of snow slid off the mountain and hit the driver’s side and pushed our truck 90 degrees to face the mountain. The snow was up to the windows on the passenger side and past the windows on the driver’s side. The good thing is there was a large truck already there and saw it happen and saw our truck. He promptly called a snow removal truck with an amazing Caltrans worker, Steve, who removed enough snow to allow us to be pulled out. Luckily Scott purchased a tow strap a while back which Steve used. We were worried the truck would not start after we were released from the snow, but luckily our amazing Montero made it through, unscathed, from being hit by a wall of snow. Ethan renamed our truck from Snowflake to Avalanche (ha ha). I film all of our family vacations, so I had the camera rolling at the time of impact. I then recorded the snow removal and our ultimate rescue. It was scary at first, but we weren’t alone and I was able to leave the truck, so there were many positives on our side.
On all our trips to the mountains (Scott and me, and now with the kids) we have never experienced anything like this and I can say with confidence, we never will again. It was a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time and had we been just a few feet ahead, we probably wouldn’t have even noticed it happened.
I captured the entire event on camera so I decided to make a video to share (see below).
We are home now, safe, and like I said, we are all fine. The kids were mostly bored in the truck waiting for the snow removal to arrive (ha ha). In all honesty, thoughts of “oh this could have been so much worse” drifted through my mind, but Scott and I both knew everything was going to be okay and once we were released from the snow, we were less than an hour out of the storm. Today was a good reminder about how fast things can change. It’s a good reminder to enjoy every precious moment in life because you just never know! Love and hugs to all. xoxo