It's not often one gets to see an avalanche up-close and survive, but that's what happened to one group of mountaineers who experienced a close shave in Canada.

Dramatic footage captures the moment a torrent of snow thunders down a mountainside in the Rocky Mountains, British Columbia, as a small group from Spain watch in awe just feet away.

The clip, filmed by skier Jurek Ziemkiewicz on 21 April, sees the three men and one woman shout at each other as they first spot the avalanche at the top of the mountain.

With the mass of snow fast approaching, they rush out of its path to a safe location, where a wooden sign ominously reads: "Expect the Unexpected."

Things go quiet as the avalanche disappears from view behind some trees, before suddenly reappearing just a few feet away from the group.

The river of snow continues flowing down the mountainside for at least another four minutes – taking with it trees and bits of debris – as the skiers watch in amazement.

The Rocky Mountains, commonly known as the Rockies, are a popular spot for snow sports enthusiasts, hikers and mountain climbers with the mountain range stretching more than 3,000 miles.

The avalanche risk is currently unpredictable and warmer spring weather can cause a sudden change in conditions making avalanches more likely.

Last month, the bodies of two US hikers were found after they were suspected of being buried by an avalanche.

A skier watches as a torrent of snow and debris flows down the mountainside just feet away YouTube/Jurek Ziemkiewicz via Storyful