New York Times writer John Branch won the Pulitzer Prize today for feature writing for his remarkable story “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek.” A hair-raising tale of disaster and survival, it is a classic adventure story, as suspenseful and beautifully written as Into Thin Air and The Perfect Storm. Branch’s piece revolves around a group of sixteen veteran skiers and snow boarders who headed to a renowned out-of-bounds ski area on Cowboy Mountain on February 19, 2012. Knowing the snow pack was unstable, they took a deadly gamble -- and lost.
As Branch wrote:
“Snow shattered and spilled down the slope. Within seconds, the avalanche was the size of more than a thousand cars barreling down the mountain and weighed millions of pounds. Moving about 70 miles per hour, it crashed through the sturdy old-growth trees, snapping their limbs and shredding bark from their trunks.
The avalanche, in Washington’s Cascades in February, slid past some trees and rocks, like ocean swells around a ship’s prow. Others it captured and added to its violent load.
Somewhere inside, it also carried people. How many, no one knew.”
Click here to read Snow Fall in full, and check out the amazing use of animated GIFs.
Click here for the complete list of Pulitzer winners.