an avalanche - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
The avalanche was delayed for a moment after the charges went off. Skylar stood back and watched the snowpack tumble to the valley below. It was always a spectacular sight and one that rendered the mountain safe weeks. He lowered his goggles and set off to the next peak, the winter sun providing unlimited visibility.
The avalanche comes faster than God on a skateboard. One minute the slopes are pristine and the next they're moving. It would be funny if it weren't so deadly, but there isn't time to laugh anyway. In seconds the powder is around me, kissing coldly. In another moment the weight of the snow is on my back and my forward momentum is no longer under my control. I tumble over and over, crushed from all sides. Time passes both in slow motion and in a flash, then I am still. The light is gone. The snow could be any colour and I wouldn't know the difference. Humans didn't evolve for such things; my bones are broken. I'm cold, colder than I've ever been. Either the snow is sucking my heat in like drug or I'm bleeding out. Perhaps underneath me the snow looks like a halloween seven-eleven slushie. Five minutes ago I was in the sunshine, not a care in the world, now I'm buried deep. No way out. Perhaps this is the time to relax, make my peace with the almighty, but my anger is all that's keeping me alive right now.
When the snow hit it was hard and unforgiving. Against it their bodies bent and snapped like the fragile beings they were. A hundred pounds of human vs a hundred tonnes of snow wasn't a fair fight. Before a cry could escape their lungs they were encased, packed in tight. Their body heat fled into the snow barely melting a crystal and their hearts slowed. After a time the pain stopped. High above them the digging had begun. The transponders had them ten feet down and the crew dug like it was their own lives that depended on it. Friends were friends, and their deaths would take a little bit of everyone with them. Under the brilliant sun it was almost hard to believe the emergency under their boots, and no-one wanted to either. But a few seconds either way meant recovery of slipping away. The shovels became almost a blur and no-one spoke unless it was a grunt; the snow flew in shimmering arcs and the hole grew larger at their feet.
Tinker lead the group across the pristine snow, there must have been over a foot deposited in the last twenty four hours. The scene was like something out of a long forgotten dream and the air was more pure than he ever remembered breathing. The guys at the back were clowning around, calling back and forth. Tink turned to tell them to cut it out but as he did so he heard a crack from above. Heading their way was a white tsunami. He cried “Avalanche!” and turned his skis downward, jamming his poles into the white over and over, pumping faster and faster. The noise was deafening. In moments he was tumbling in white, cold, then darkness, pain, and still more noise. He opened his mouth to cry but there was nowhere for it to go. Then everything stopped, not slowly, but suddenly. It was like being set in concrete. This was not the soft snow of making angels in the yard, this was more like being buried in earth. He moved his head the small amount he could to make some breathing room. All he could do now was hope his transponder was still working. Mountain rescue would come, they had to...
Standing at the peak Levi lights the fuse and tosses the tiny bombs. When the explosions crack the air the snow splits, sliding in a great sheet. It moves quickly, battering the trees that dare stand in its way. Levi watches them move and sway, spell bound. He'd do this job even if no-one paid him, just to watch the avalanche move was satisfying enough.
There is a sound mightier than thunder, a cracking, a warning of the violence to come. Lance looks up, eyes wide under his orange tinted googles, skis parked in a v-shape. Almost in slow-motion the snow begins to move, but white-on-white is hard to detect and his body makes the wrong choice in the moment. Everything about him is as frozen as the snow below. Before he can even make a conscious choice to move the snow pack is accelerating faster than an intercity train. In seconds he is picked up, rolled into the frigid white, unable to move, bones breaking, suffocating. In the cartoons he would roll comically to a stop in a giant snowball before shaking it off and springing to his feet, but this is no animation for children. His brain numbs, his blood runs cold, his heart stops. All signs off life are extinguished before the first shovel is planted in the snow above.
The avalanche wipes the mountain, a colossal etcher-sketcher of white. Its path is clear, rocky, barren of growth. For this is the path of many avalanches each season and any precocious spring growth is uprooted before it gets a chance to thrive. Powder explodes into the dry air, beautiful, powerful. The roar echoes between the mountain peaks, the vibrations returned to the air by thousands of tonnes of naked rock.
The avalanche begins like a valley river, slow and enchanting, the remainder of the mountainside as still as the meadow. Soon it gathers pace, flowing more like the spring rapids, eager to conform to the will of gravity. A boom dominates the frigid air as the ski patrol looks on, every season there is one that won't stay within the ropes.