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Crash cam in direct path of avalanche

Staff writers
January 16, 2013 — You likely caught the exciting LIVE broadcast of a triggered avalanche on The Weather Network last Wednesday morning. Now, the crew that was chasing the slide give us a first hand look at the tense, but successful moments on the ground.

LIVE avalanche captured on camera last Wednesday
LIVE avalanche captured on camera last Wednesday

It was a first for The Weather Network.†

A crew consisting of Storm Hunter Mark Robinson and storm chaser George Kourounis along with Weather Network Calgary reporter, Kelsey McEwen journeyed into the interior of British Columbia, hoping to catch a controlled avalanche LIVE on camera.†

"The stakes were high," said McEwen. "Last year, Robinson and Kourounis set out with the same mission in mind, but the odds were not in their favour, and the avalanche trip came and went without a single snow slide."†

This year however, the adventurers finally caught their avalanche.

"Alright itís rock and roll time," said an eager Kourounis on the morning of January 9.†

The crew joined forces with avalanche prevention personnel at BC's Kootenay Pass and were told that Wednesday would be their day to capture a controlled slide on camera.

"The mood was a mix of anticipation and excitement as the final directions were given out," recalls McEwen.†

While McEwen and camera operator Shawn Legg remained a safe distance to broadcast the event LIVE, both Robinson and Kourounis took a front row seat in the lead vehicle just metres away from where the avalanche was expected to slide.†

After a few tense moments, it was a success.†

The snow came crashing down the mountain and onto the Kootenay Pass Highway, allowing McEwen to broadcast everything LIVE.†

"It's a Weather Network first!," she said excitedly.

Crash cam placed inside a protective box
Crash cam placed inside a protective box

With excitement and adrenaline running high, the storm hunters were eager for their next task.†

"The next task is to get the avalanche crash cam directly in the path of one of these avalanches," said Kourounis confidently. "So I'm going to go out into the extreme danger zone, right in the path of the avalanche."†

Without much time to get everything in place, the team put a camera inside a protective box.

"Thereís an avalanche beacon inside the box, so if it gets buried weíll be able to find it, but Iíve also got a rope that will help us retrieve it," said Kourounis.†

Running, Kourounis and Robinson looked for the perfect location for the camera in the natural berm on the highway. Once in place, Kourounis checked the equipment a final time with only one chance to get the shot right.†

Back in the safe zone, the team anxiously watched in hope that the camera captured what they were looking for.†

"We wanted to show everyone safely, what it's like to be in the path of an avalanche," the team said.

As you see in the video above, it went off without a hitch.†

"Just amazing! I love doing things that most people donít ever think about doing and this is certainly one of them," says Kourounis.

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