updated 02/20/2012 AT 2:00 PM ET
•originally published 02/20/2012 AT 3:00 PM ET
Elyse Saugstad credits a special inflatable backpack for surviving an avalanche over the weekend that killed three men in her group of professional skiers.
Saugstad, the 2008 Freeride World Champ, tells the Associated Press that she “was completely buried except for my head and hands” on Sunday near Stevens Pass, a popular skiing destination in the Cascades in Washington State.
The pro says she was aided by the inflation of her ABS Avalanche Airbag Backpack” that helps prevents skiers from being buried by snow.
“All of the people in the party were properly equipped and experienced backcountry travelers,” she writes on her blog. “My thoughts and prayers are with those [who] lost their lives today.”
The three men were killed just one month after the death of Winter X-Games skiing star Sarah Burke, who died during a training run.