If you’re a reader of Unofficial Networks, you are very familiar with Owen Leeper. He is one of the most accomplished skiers alive today. Well, Owen had a close call, and we are very happy he is okay.
The chute had been skied a couple of times previously by Owen, although not on the same day. Despite his familiarity with the terrain, Owen still ended up in a dangerous situation. Fortunately, he escaped with a painful dislocated shoulder. Still, considering the tightness of the chute and the size of the slide, he’s extremely lucky he didn’t catch any other part of his body on the rocks or end up buried.
This incident serves as a stark reminder of the dangers that skiers and snowboarders face when venturing off-piste. Even if you’re familiar with a particular terrain, conditions can change rapidly and without warning, as was the case for Owen. When skiing in tight chutes or other confined spaces, it’s essential to exercise caution and stay alert to any signs of instability in the snowpack.
In addition to staying vigilant, skiers and snowboarders should always carry proper safety equipment, including a beacon, shovel, and probe. These tools can be lifesavers in the event of an avalanche or other emergency and can mean the difference between life and death in a critical situation.
While skiing and snowboarding can be exhilarating and rewarding experiences, it’s important to never forget the inherent risks that come with the sport. By staying prepared, staying alert, and always erring on the side of caution, skiers and snowboarders can reduce the chances of accidents and ensure that they can continue to enjoy the mountains for years to come. So, stay safe out there, and keep shredding!
Owen’s full account of the scary incident is below:
The avalanche forecast was moderate, with sunny skies, temps were in the high 20’s at upper elevation. I scoped the chute a couple days ago. I wasn’t too worried about an avalanche, because we had several days of settling since the last storm and the wind was keeping the snow cool so wet slides weren’t on my mind either. I was more worried about it being too rocky in the choke, which is why I said here it goes, when dropping in.
I have actually skied into this chute twice, and booted back out both times because it was too rocky. I knew I had to take it slow, to see the choke before being able to ski through it. On the third turn it all cracked, I tried digging my hands in to stop me from sliding, but the snow grabbed my skis, I tried to reach for my airbag, but my shoulder was buried in the snow and I couldn’t get to it before bracing for impact on the rocks.
Once I hit the first rock I knew I had to keep my feet under me, for the rock in the middle was about to hit, my skis launched me into the wall, I was able to get my hands up and catch myself before hitting my face, likely popping my shoulder out at that time. I tried hard to keep my feet below me, knowing I had another rock band to clear. Miraculously I bounced over the last section of rocks into the snow.
I came to a stop and all the snow flushed down further, I knew right away my shoulder was out, but was amazed nothing else hurt. I radioed up to @lostlawyer for help, and he skied around to me.
We tried to get my shoulder back in, so I could ski down, but had no luck, so we called for rescue and @tetoncountysar flew me out. It took 3 people to finally get my shoulder back in at the emergency room.
Every day in the mountains is risky, there isn’t one day of the season where the avalanche danger is “none.” Every backcountry skier understands the risks. The important thing is to minimize risks where possible, but you can’t remove all risk while pursuing extreme skiing. I feel very lucky I made it out with minor injuries. I will definitely think about this crash every time I’m out. #skiing #avalanche #Jacksonhole #backcountryskiing
This article was originally published by Unofficialnetworks.com. Read the original article here.