Avalanche survivor shares his story
February 3, 2012
Fort Collins — The survivor of a recent avalanche near Steamboat Springs is sharing his story to raise awareness about the dangerous conditions in Colorado's mountains and the importance of being prepared.
Jordan Lundstedt and his brother Tyler Lundstedt were caught in an avalanche Jan. 21 or 22 in Routt National Forest in Jackson County.
"You feel the ground shake, almost like the ground fell," Jordan Lundstedt said. "I don't know how much it fell. (I) heard distant thunder, and everything started sliding. You're not seeing anything. … You're kind of panicking at that moment, just trying to tread water to try to stay on top, but you don't know what direction's where at the time. You're kind of just tumbling."
Jordan Lundstedt said he got hung up in a tree and was able to dig himself out. He immediately started looking for his brother.
"I didn't know where he was. I yelled for him instantly when it stopped," Jordan Lundstedt said. "I didn't hear anything from him. He was 45 yards down the hill from me, found by an avalanche beacon."
By the time Jordan Lundstedt reached his brother, he already had died. Jordan Lundstedt called 911 for help when he could, but it took rescuers about 36 hours to find the brothers.
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Jordan Lundstedt built a snow cave and used a couple of emergency blankets to keep warm.
"I knew I had to build a shelter for myself so I wasn't just out in the wind and snow," Jordan Lundstedt said. "So I dug a snow cave right next to my brother. I built it just big enough to wedge myself in fetal position. Then I wrapped the space blankets."
Jordan Lundstedt's father was part of the rescue team. "It was the best moment and worst moment of my life at the same time," Garry Lundstedt said.
Everyone who knew Tyler Lundstedt describes him as a happy guy who enjoyed snowmobiling and other outdoor activities.
"There're not many people better than him, and there's certainly no one that loved it more than him. He's one of the lucky ones who got to go doing what he loved," his brother Brian Lundstedt said.
The Lundstedt family has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and planned to attend a fundraiser and auction Friday night in Fort Collins.
The money raised will go toward avalanche research groups and survival training organizations. The family hopes to spare others the heartache they've experienced.
"I'm doing as good as I can be. I miss him, miss my big brother, my best friend," Jordan said.