Utah snowmobiler survives avalanche that briefly buried him

A Utah snowmobiler said he briefly panicked after an avalanche sent him cartwheeling off his snowmobile and buried him in snow in the mountains near the Idaho border.

Matthew Jensen said his friends dug him out Saturday after about a minute under the snow because they spotted his hand sticking out. He said he told himself to relax to avoid using all his oxygen. The incident occurred Saturday on a hill west of Eden basin in northern Utah. Jensen hurt his leg but is otherwise fine, KUTV-TV reports.

"I kind of cartwheeled, just felt my head fill with blood when it was pointed down and it got dark as the snow came in around my head," Jensen said.

The veteran snowmobiler says he now realizes there were too many snowmobilers on the hill at one time.

"The rule on something like that is one guy at a time and everybody else watches," he said.

Avalanche forecaster Craig Gordon said they’re advising all backcountry users to stay off steep, north-facing slopes because a dense layer of snow that fell on Thanksgiving sits on top of older, weaker snow.