GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Hundreds of miles away from his Grand Junction home, Anthony Sours spent his Thursday snowmobiling along the Wyoming range in the Horse Creek area near Pinedale. He noticed a snowmobiler cutting across the path in front of him.
“He lost his balance, he fell down into the creek bed, and when he got off his sled, he was up to his armpits,” Sours said. ”Right as he turned around and looked at me, the whole bank gave way and just buried him completely.”
With quick thinking, Sours sprang into action, calling on other snowmobilers in the area to start digging. He says he knew generally where the buried man was.
“I got into my tunnel bag, ripped the shovel out and started digging like a mad man,” Sours said. “I don’t know if it was God or my timing or what, but there’s no doubt if I hadn’t been there that guy probably would have died that day.”
Sours is in the Army Reserve, and spent time with Grand County Rescue. He’s been to four different avalanche schools and had the right gear ready. Sours says the man was grateful, and even had the right gear, but couldn’t deploy his airbag as he didn’t see the slide coming.
In 2019, Vail Mountain Rescue Group rescued 52 snowmobilers, the most of any group, out of 255 total rescues. They recommend bringing extra water, a cell phone battery backup (and/or satellite communicator, like a Garmin inReach) and a means to start a fire. They recommend bringing snowshoes and a shovel to dig yourself out in case of an emergency.