Colorado Skiers Save Dog Buried in Avalanche

By Peyton Phillips January 4, 2022
The rescue mission was captured by helmet video.

Bobby White and Josh Trujillo were backcountry skiing the popular Berthoud pass area in Colorado when they spotted a cloud of snow erupting — a sure sign of an avalanche approaching — around 1,000 feet away.

White rushed to put his split board back together while Trujillo immediately skied toward the avalanche debris, where he found another group of skiers. Every person from the group was accounted for, but they could not find their dog, a two-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever named Apollo. 

According to Apollo’s owner, Scott Shepherd, he ran away from the owner above a steep, rocky slope, triggered the avalanche and was swept over the cliff before disappearing into a sea of snow. 

“He started moving, and he just looked confused like, ‘Why am I sliding down the hill?’ And then he was just gone,”Shepherd told ABC News.

The group used probe poles, typically around eight feet long, to poke through the snow in hopes of finding Apollo.

“Needle in a haystack,” White is heard exclaiming in his helmet video recording the search, which was filmed with a GoPro he said he bought the day before. “I think we need to get out of here,” White tells Trujillo in the helmet video. “That dog is dead. This is why I don’t like dogs in avalanche terrain to begin with. We’re all like probing underneath the worst avalanche terrain in Berthoud right now.”

But, just two minutes later, Trujillo spots a nose sticking out of the snow. “I found him! I found him, I found him, I found him!” he shouts. “I can see him. He’s still alive.”

After about a minute of digging, the dog wiggles free and leaps out of the snow. 

“There’s no way I would have found him in time to get him out there because I was still way up the slope, making my way around,” Shepherd told ABC News. “I think they saved his life, and I can never be grateful enough for that.”

Image source: ABC News