Skiers and snowboarders have somewhat of a sibling-esque rivalry going on, but they undoubtedly share one thing, doing dangerously cool stuff on a mountain.
That dangerous stuff became very real for snowboarder Ian Steger, who found himself buried under six feet of snow after falling into a tree well. If not for skier Francis Zuber spotting Ian’s board wiggling out of the snow, he would have been a goner.
Zuber was wearing a go-pro during his impromptu rescue mission on Mount Baker Ski Area in Washington, USA and the footage is legitimately nuts. He posted the video to his Instagram a week ago, and it soon went mega-viral, gaining 30 million views on one tweet and birthing a load of news stories.
He told King5 News that as soon as he saw the board poking through the snow, he had to get busy.
“When I saw that there was a snowboard upside down and it was wiggling back and forth, you know, that's when I knew,” he said. “I shot up to him, no response, okay, this guy needs to be rescued right now.”
“I don't know how long he's been there for, no one else is coming most likely, I need to get to him right now. I was very much, you know, like, terrified that I was going to let this person die because I wasn't going to be able to get to him in time," he added.
Zuber was successful and Ian was, of course, extremely grateful.
“He's like, 'Hey man, you saved a life today. Thank you for stopping,'" Zuber recalled.
In his Instagram post, Zuber urged fellow snow riders to be careful and ready for anything.
“The mountains don’t care how much skill or experience you have,” he wrote. “They don't even care if you and your ski partners are doing everything right.”
“Get trained on what to do if you find yourself in this situation. I'm thankful I knew just enough to scrape by and perform a successful rescue. Always look out for each other out there.”
Zuber and Steger eventually grabbed a beer together, with their significant others tagging along. With Zuber saving his life and all, I'm gonna bet that Steger shouted the beersies.
"Grateful to be back on the mountain and to get a day in with my new brother @franciszuber," Ian wrote in an Instagram post of the two of them together.
"There are no words to express the gratitude that @hanahoumassage and I have for you. Thanks for saving my life."