AN AUSTRALIAN snowboarder may have a Christmas present to thank for saving his life, after being swept down a Canadian mountain by a sudden avalanche.
Boarder Tom Oye, 29, posted a video of the ordeal to Facebook, showing footage from his helmet-mounted camera.
He had just seconds to react as the snow began cracking beneath him, but it was enough time to activate an inflatable backpack - akin to a car's airbag - which is designed to keep skiiers near the surface during an avalanche.
Only 20 seconds later and the wall of snow is gone and Oye mutters, "I'm fine. That was a little scary".
The Adelaide snowboarder has lived in Whistler in Canada for three years.
ABC News reports his grandmother Marlene Oye, 82, and other family members all put in to pay for the backpack.
"It was a lot of money but, my God, it saved his life. It could have been a million dollars but it would have been worth it," she said.
"The gods smiled down upon him.
"Having seen him come off motorbikes and that sort of thing, you know, you're a bit prepared I guess. But it was a bit scary."
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