Elisabeth Malloy, a Utah woman buried in an avalanche, lived to tell her story thanks to a heroic rescue by none other than her boyfriend Adam Morrey.
Malloy, 43, suffered frostbite in her toes and fingers, but survived. She and Morrey, 30, spoke at length about the ordeal during a press conference Wednesday.
They said they were lucky to be alive after they triggered and were engulfed by a 700-foot wide avalanche while skiing in mountains east of Salt Lake City.
Describing Saturday's avalanche, Malloy said it felt like a waterslide as she slid face first on her stomach down the mountain in the snow, ice and rock.
She meditated, breathed slowly and told herself it wasn't her time to die in the few minutes before she lost consciousness while buried in 18 inches of snow.
"It was surreal, quiet and as embryonic without being water as I could imagine," said Malloy, a pediatric nurse. "I had this feeling that I was going to be fine."
Amazingly, she was found. Malloy says she remembered being awoken by "sweet kisses" from Adam Morrey, then feeling cold and asking for a "hot tottie."
Morrey, who had skied downhill about 10-15 feet downhill before being bowled over the slide, emerged with his head and chest out of the snow.
After Malloy failed to answer his calls, he shimmied out of the snow and began searching. Using avalanche rescue beacons they were both wearing, he located her.
Using an avalanche shovel, Morrey hit her foot, then found the rest of her body. She was breathing but unconscious for a bit before she stopped breathing.
Morrey performed CPR. She didn't have her ski boots and had lost her gloves. Morrey grabbed extra clothes she had in her backpack and put them on her.
Another skier came by and helped the two make their way down the mountain, Morrey and the other man on skis and Malloy on a plastic bag with one ski boot.
After calling to initiate a rescue, the man helped the couple slide their way down until a rescue helicopter spotted them about 2 1/2 hours later.
They were taken to University Hospital in Salt Lake City, where Malloy has been ever since, receiving treatment for her frostbite in the burn unit.
Morrey said they both have years of experienced backcountry skiing, and knew about the considerable avalanche danger that day, but pressed on
"Our judgment was overwhelmed by the pursuit of having more fun and skiing the steeper slopes and the great Utah powder," Morrey confessed.
Malloy said she's glad she was buried and not Morrey because she's not sure she would have been able to be calm enough to pull off the rescue.