STAR VALLEY, WYO \u2013 Andy Thomas has put a sled just about everywhere in the backcountry. He\u2019s put his #104 Polaris atop Snow King more than a few times as well during the World Championship Hill Climb. The 22-year-old was also named RMSHA\u2019s racer of the year in 2017.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAll that experience on the snow, all the glory and accolades thrown his way, none of it meant a thing last weekend when he found himself pulling his avi airbag after he found himself being carried away in a slow-moving slide.\r\n\r\nThomas said his first thought was his buddy. He didn\u2019t know if the break he had been caught up in also got him. He was also worried snow above the fracture would come loose as well and completely bury him and his sled. And he couldn\u2019t believe the snow slide in that spot.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe rode that spot multiple times, hundreds of times. The weekend before it had been rode,\u201d Thomas told Buckrail. \u201cWe should have been a little more cautious given the conditions. This wasn\u2019t a bad slide but it was enough to open my eyes.\u201d\r\n\r\nThomas said he deployed the bag out of instinct, just like he\u2019d rehearsed it in his head over and over until it was second nature. He thought riding in trees would be safer than out on an open slopeside.\r\n\r\n\u201cYou talk to anyone who\u2019s been riding for years and they\u2019ll say even though it seems like trees will hold the snow together better, it\u2019s easy to get complacent and forget anywhere can be dangerous.\u201d\r\n\r\nAfter his buddy showed up and helped him unbury his sled, he and Thomas eventually took the safest line out of the mountains in Star Valley east of Afton and made it home.\r\n\r\nConditions in the backcountry continue to be challenging. Avalanche activity has spiked since recent snow. Thomas debated posting his incident just as previous riders had when they got slid. In the end, he thought it best to warn others and pass along what he learned.\r\n\r\nHere is what the sledder posted on Facebook:\r\n\r\nI\u2019ve thought a lot about posting this. About the only reason I haven\u2019t is because I don\u2019t want to hear all the people that think they know everything tell me what I did wrong.\r\n\r\nBut I know that there are some people that could really learn a lot from this. Maybe open your eyes without having to go through it.\r\n\r\nI\u2019ve always thought there could be nothing worse than getting in an avalanche but there is. Getting in an avalanche and not knowing if your best friend that you know is\u00a0following right behind you is buried. Not knowing where anybody is. Not knowing if the top is going to break and bury more than just waste deep.\r\n\r\nA few things I\u2019ve learned from this:\r\n1. I will never ride without all of my gear.\r\n2. Radios are also an item that must be carried. We could have easily communicated right after the slide to make sure we were both okay.\r\n3. Keep your family and friends close, and live everyday to the fullest.\r\n4. It will slide in the trees.