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Teen buried under snow 25 minutes
Associated Press Kristin Scribner describes a backcountry avalanche that swept her and other members of a snowmobiling outing down a British Columbia mountainside in Usk, Wash., Tuesday. Scribner, 16, was buried under the snow for 25 minutes while her stepfather rushed to dig her out.

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Like sticking your head under water in the path of a hot tub jet, times 10.

That's how a Kristin Scribner described a backcountry avalanche that swept her and other members of a snowmobiling outing down a British Columbia mountainside.

Scribner, 16, a Newport High School junior, was riding snowmobiles with her stepfather, Norm Leslie, 32, and others in an area known as Meadow Mountain on Sunday about 90 miles north of the U.S. border.

The group included people from Washington, Montana and Idaho.

Scribner was buried under the snow for 25 minutes while her stepfather rushed to dig her out.

"At first I could hear him and another man screaming my name," Scribner said Tuesday.

The bubbly teenager who loves motorcycles and "extreme sports" described her brush with death.

Scribner told The Spokesman Review that she was riding up a steep hillside and was about 20 feet from the top when she saw the snow break away and start down the mountain. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police estimated that the slide ran for about 200 to 300 feet.

"I thought I was hallucinating," Scribner said. "All I could think to do was gun it."

She hoped to ride her way through it. "I've seen it in the movies and stuff," she said.

That didn't happen.

The slide knocked her off the machine and threw her about 15 feet up in the air, she said.

Down the mountain, Leslie jumped and grabbed the bumper of another man's machine as he drove off to avoid the slide. The other man dragged him to the edge of the mountain, where the slide was slowing down a bit, Leslie said.

"I tried to keep my head up," he said.

He was able to pull himself out of it, and race to where Scribner was buried.

He could see her snowmobile, and he went for that.

"My chest would only hold so much air," Scribner said. "And I tried to yell his name."

Her helmet strap was tight against her throat, and she kept trying to press her head against the padding to release the tension. She could see the sky thorough a small hole in the snow.

After 25 minutes, the last mound of snow was removed from her head.

"That breath of air was just like the best thing ever," Scribner said.

Leslie has been riding in the mountains for years and has ridden through a few small avalanches before, but "nothing of this magnitude. I haven't even seen anything like that on the Discovery Channel."

The avalanche buried four other people, the RCMP said. A couple from Montana each suffered leg injuries.

They were treated to Kootenay Lake Regional Hospital in Nelson, B.C.

Twenty-three people have died in avalanches in British Columbia this season.

Authorities said the snowmobilers are lucky to be alive.

"The possibility of causing major injury, if not death, in the individuals involved was extremely likely," RCMP Cpl. Wayne Harrison said. "They were lucky, given the nature of their injuries and what they escaped with."

Copyright © 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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