His friends were able to free themselves from under the snow but he was completely trapped – until rescue dog Asta managed to locate him after 30 minutes.
Recent heavy snowfall in the west of Austria means there is a heightened risk of avalanches. The man, from Tyrol, was skiing with four friends on fresh powder on Sunday when they triggered an avalanche. Another skier was also buried under the snow. Several people in a chairlift saw the avalanche as it happened below them, and called the rescue service.
Luckily a rescue team was nearby doing a practise exercise and arrived on the scene in 20 minutes, along with rescue dog Asta the German Shepherd and her handler Sebastian Antretter.
The 19-year-old was dug out of the snow and was still conscious and able to speak to the rescue team. He didn’t suffer any serious injuries but was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Kufstein and treated for hypothermia. A 55-year-old German man from Munich was badly injured during the avalanche.
On Monday afternoon one man died in an avalanche in Lech-Zürs in Vorarlberg. A rescue helicopter arrived within minutes, but it was too late and the man could not be resuscitated. His identity has not yet been made public. Local media reports suggest the avalanche was triggered by a group of three skiers who were skiing off piste with a guide.
On Saturday a 38-year-old German man was killed by an avalanche which hit him whilst he was taking photos of two friends ice climbing.
The avalanche risk remains high in Vorarlberg and Tyrol with a 60 percent risk of an avalanche above 1,800 metres. Austria’s national warning centre advises against ski touring in such conditions.