Skier lucky to be alive after being swallowed by an avalanche

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An extremely lucky skier named Edwin LaMair was with his brother in the backwoods of Vail, Colo., when he got caught in an avalanche.

In an interview with TODAY, Edwin said he didn't know what was happening at first, but once he realized what was going on, he went into survival mode.

'I was trying to swim as hard as I could to get to the top,' Edwin said. 'I was immensely relieved when I realized that my face was above the surface and I could breathe,' he added.

The avalanche dragged him face first down the cliff over a 20-ft. cliff. When his brother saw what had happened, he raced down the hill, clearing the same cliff, to find his brother buried head deep.

It only took a few minutes for his brother and a friend to dig Edwin out -- and Edwin walked away with just a torn ACL and MCL.

The brothers said the sun was setting when the avalanche struck, and that if it had happened just a few minutes later, the outcome could have been very different.

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