A skier who was waiting to descend an off-piste ski route in the Austrian Alps has described the shock experienced when a ridge of snow gave way beneath him - a moment he unexpectedly caught on camera.

The eyewitness, who chose not to be named, told Reuters he was with a group of other skiers who had intended to ski down the slope near the resort of St Anton am Arlberg one at a time.

RTÉ News on social media

Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram

"[We] didn't realise that we already put a ton of pressure on the snow. The rest is explained by the video," he said.

"After the avalanche I was in a bit of a shock and had no clue how many of my friends were buried or not. Happy to be alive I started to search to see if I could find anyone, not knowing if there was anyone underneath the snow."

A mountain rescue team arrived to assist, the skier said, adding that the rescue team was surprised by the location of the avalanche, given that it was a popular off-piste route.

The skier told Reuters that fortunately no-one was buried by the avalanche.

On the day of the incident, the Euregio avalanche report warned of expected loose-snow avalanches on steep, sunny terrain in the region.