Feature story: Snow Survival by Arthur Qin

Arthur Qin, Parrot Press writer

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How a Skier Survived a 1600-foot Nearly Vertical Fall

by Arthur Qin

A couple of years ago, Ian McIntosh, a Canadian professional skier, skidded down 1,600 feet in Alaska’s Neacola mountain range in April of 2015. He said that the experience “felt like eternity,” and I think that I would have said the same. Some might wonder how he survived, and that’s what I’m going to be exploring in this article. Ian McIntosh is a Canadian professional skier who works for Teton Gravity Research, out to for a ski movie called “Paradise Waits.”
Since they had less than 15 minutes of daylight left, McIntosh did not study the route as carefully as he should have done. He overlooked a section of the run and as a result, he fell in a five-foot-deep trench and skidded 1,600 feet down the face of the mountain. Amazingly, he did not suffer any major injuries, just a few minor bruises! According to ABC News, he also described the situation as being like “getting hit by linebackers the whole way down the mountain over and over again, full sprinting linebackers.” TGR’s own co-founder, Todd Jones, described the fall as the “most terrifying crash I’ve ever seen.”

In the photo above, Mac comes down from the left side and while turning falls into the trench. One lifesaver was McIntosh’s own experience. He had enough sense to deploy the airbag in his backpack to cushion his fall. The airbag was really meant for escaping avalanches, although in this situation, it saved McIntosh’s life. He got off with just a few bruises. McIntosh himself said that the fall “surprised the heck out of” him.

And he doesn’t resent the decision to ski down the mountain either. Instead, he keeps skiing. “I don’t want to die doing this,” says McIntosh. “I mean, I don’t have a death wish. But I do have a wish to live life to its fullest and live my dreams.” McIntosh gives a great example of someone who is really dedicated to what he or she does. Also suffering from a broken femur from a previous run, this 1,600-foot crash still leaves him undeterred. Everybody’s got to have something that they love doing. And for Mac, it’s extreme skiing.

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Feature story: Snow Survival by Arthur Qin