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Mountain News: A story to beat all stories



CRESTED BUTTE, Colo.—Alex Theaker will likely have the most interesting personal story in anybody's room for the rest of his life. The 28-year-old Crested Butte resident almost lost his life in early March when he went to shovel at a house in Mt. Crested Butte, the slope-side town.

He sat down with Mark Reaman of the Crested Butte News to share his full story. He thought the roof might be ready to avalanche, but was very close to getting his work done. He wasn't quick enough.

Buried, he immediately started wiggling.

"The snow was really heavy. If it had happened in December, I might have been able to pop right out of there. But that snow was so wet and heavy, it formed like cement around me. I was kind of on my side and barely had any room to move my legs or anything. I had my phone in my pocket but couldn't get my hand down to my phone because the snow just had me. Luckily, I had both hands up by my head."

That may have made all the difference. He was able to move his hands just enough to carve out a portal of air. He thinks he was also able to create just enough of a passageway to allow oxygen to reach him.

Then he stayed calm. "I only remember about 10 minutes of it, and then I remember waking up in the hospital." He had been buried in the snow for up to two and a half hours. His core body temperature was 86 degrees.

In that time of darkness, he remembers trying to channel to his wife. "I couldn't get to my phone so I was trying to communicate with her mentally or through my energy, saying 'I need help. I need help.'"

He also had Tupac's Greatest Hits playing in his ear and sort of trying to getting to a world of dance beyond this one. "But they were telling me, 'Nope, you're not ready. You forgot the ticket of the party so you gotta go back and remember the ticket next time, you idiot. You can see what it's all about, but you can't get in. You have to dance from the outside.'"