Man Rides Avalanche Feet-First in Utah

A hiker fell about 1,000 feet down a mountain side, riding an avalanche feet-first — and suffered only minor injuries.

"Extremely lucky," said Juab County Sheriff Alden Orme.

Mark Thomas and two companions were hiking on a ridge near Mount Nebo on Saturday when snow gave way beneath them, they told police.

His friends did not fall, but Thomas slid about 1,000 feet, triggering an avalanche, Orme said.

Thomas, 21, of Salt Lake City, told police that he rode the cascading snow feet-first, and came to a stop partially buried in a canyon.

His friends went for help, but while they were gone Thomas dug himself out of the snow. He set out walking out of the canyon and met rescuers on their way up the mountain.

Thomas had a minor back injury and frostbitten feet, police said.