We've all been there, charging hard or tearing up the park when suddenly you know it's all gone wrong. You've over rotated, you're off angle, you've somehow missed the kid sat in the run off or worse yet, that rushing sound behind you is not a roar of applause but rather an avalanche chasing you down the slope. In these moments everything seems to slow down giving you plenty of time to start praying like never before as you consider just how badly this is going to hurt.
For lots of us, messing up results in an epic faceplant and sometimes a gnarly war wound. But for some people it is a moment of total triumph, when you can't believe you have survived and walked away from what could easily have been crippling injury or even death. It's time to buy your guardian angels a brew and say a quick thank you to the man upstairs.
Click through the following pages to check out Whitelines' 7 most blessed snowboarders:
[part title="Jed Anderson's accidental frontflip off a roof"]
This has got to be one of the luckiest urban escapes ever. Going for a roof drop, Jed Anderson clips the wall in front of him and is heading straight for a pretty gnarly faceplant. Somehow his momentum keeps him going and he stomps an almost textbook frontflip. The look of complete disbelief on his face is just classic. Jed redefines luck here, and as always, does it with style.
[part title='Snowcat Survival']
If you haven't seen this by now you have been living in a cave somewhere. You can hear the guy with the camera yelling as he realises what's about to happen. He's done the maths and snowcat plus his mate = death. But this dude is having none of it, he just rides on, jumps the cat as if he'd planned it all along and nearly stomps the 540. One more go and he would have had it!
[part title='Johno Verity walks away from massive avalanche']
In 2008 British riders Johno Verity and Eric Themel were hitting a 'pretty mellow run' in New Zealand, when the whole face broke up around them. Eric managed to get to the side of the slip but Johno was engulfed, carried down the slope and spat out of the snow as the avalanche jumped out of a pit at the bottom of the hill. Somehow Johno ended up on top of the slide and the crew thoughtfully caught the whole thing from multiple angles. Truly one in a million.
[part title='Snowboarder drops down the rabbit hole...']
This clip is almost funny if it couldn't have been so serious. Cruising some fresh pow in Nozawa Osen, Japan, Matthew Horne was minding his own business when the ground opened up and swallowed him. Stuck 20 feet down a pit in the ground Matty bellowed for his mates who thankfully heard him and came back to pull him out. If Matty had gone in head first this would have ended very differently....
[part title="You're not even safe in your own village..."]
These two guys were making the most of a big pow dump in Kapl, Austria, when they were nearly wiped out by a big slide. The footage of the avalanche itself is mostly running and yelling but at 2:05 you get a shot of the unstoppable, crushing tide of snow, complete with trees sticking out of it, that has blanketed the spot the 2 riders were just in.
[part title="Think you've overshot a kicker? Think again..."]
Lance Hakker, owner of Videograss, threw down this epic overshoot in 2010 at the Loon Kicker in Mammoth. Flying for what looks like well over 150ft Lance winds those windows hard before sliding away with little more than a butt tap for his troubles.
[part title='Snowboarder branches out...']
This narrow escape is down to timing. A US boarder is charging at a nerve racking 2 mph down his drive way when a branch from a tree overhanging the drive breaks free and smashes into the ground below. At first it looks like the kid is a goner but thanks to his mind numbing speed he was carried clear just in time.
[part title='Slovakian Sluff Surfing']
This is how to do avalanches in style. 2010 in the Tatra mountains, Slovakia, this Euro shredder rides out an avalanche on his butt, crashing into a mountain wall and somehow staying on top of the tide of snow. As he finally comes to a rest, miraculously unburied, the first words out of his mouth are a thank you to God followed a moment later by a lot of words that God wouldn't like at all.
[part title='Honorable mentions']
Snowboarders aren't the only ones getting a heap of blessing on the hillside, it seems that God loves skiers too. Scandi ripper Patrik Lilja, narrowly misses beheading a ski child in this clip. The nipper has decided to sit down next to a box that Patrik's sliding but some quick thinking saves the mini gaper's noggin.
Have we missed any other particularly close calls? If so, feel free to share them with us in the comments section below!