Sometimes, the margin between life and death hinges on something as slim as the point of a snowboard sticking out of the snow after an avalanche.

That’s how rescuers spotted Evan Huck, a Bay Area man who was snowboarding Friday with his wife at Squaw Valley near Lake Tahoe. Huck was enjoying the fresh snowfall on his first run of the day when he heard someone holler and turned to see a wall of snow barreling down the mountain behind him. There was “no time to avoid it,” he told San Francisco’s ABC affiliate.

“There was lots of fresh powder. It was super fun, then I heard someone yell and I looked back and saw an eight-foot wall of snow,” he said. “A second later, it hit us.”

He quickly was overtaken and buried in the snow.

“I was conscious for about 45 seconds while I was under the snow at first,” he said, “then I kind of ran out of oxygen and passed out.”

His wife, Kahlynn, was luckier. She dug herself out and screamed, “wondering if that was it and my husband was gone.”

Other snowboarders and skiers heard her and spotted the tip of Huck’s snowboard sticking out of the snow. As they brushed the snow from his face, “he opened up his eyes and was looking right at me,” skier Joe Breault told the ABC affiliate, “and said, ‘Where’s my wife?’ ”

Both escaped serious injury.

Over the weekend, the helmet camera of snowboarder Thomas Kray caught the terror of an avalanche in the French Alps. Kray was snowboarding off-piste (a piste is a marked ski run) when he was swept over a 10-foot cliff. In a Storyful post, Kray wrote he was sharing the video “so that others protect themselves [with ABS avalanche air bags and helmets] when they go off-piste.”

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