January 21st, 2009


Chris called his story “Pinned”:

I was just carving up some downhill pow turns and clipped a rock that made me do an instant endo.  I ended-up getting scorpioned, completely pinned underneath my sled, which was upside down, pointing uphill, and also completely pinned.  My shovel or some part of my backpack was stuck so I couldn’t wiggle my way free, and I could not get my hands to my face to clear the snow out of my helmet.  I could barely breathe, and the bit of air I could pull was almost pure exhaust.  I had just dropped Ashleigh and a buddy on skis at the top of the hill, which was pretty heavily treed, and all I could do was hope that they saw me go down and would be able to get the sled off me quickly.  If they didn’t catch it, they’d ski right down to the cat track before they knew something was wrong, and even then it would take them a long time to hike back up to me, through the chest-deep snow that Steamboat has trademarked ‘Champagne Powder’.  I couldn’t get the sled to budge.  Fortunately,  Ashleigh had been keeping a close eye on me and saw what had happened while they were still uphill of me.  They were able to push the sled off me, probably within about 30 seconds, so it was all good in the end!  I will say that I probably wouldn’t have survived if they had skied down to the bottom….kind of scary!  I’ve been buried in a couple avalanches in my life and one left me buried and unconscious for about 4 minutes.  Let’s just say I’m not really a huge fan of avalanches or being trapped upside down in deep pow under your sled.  

I want everyone to use caution while riding in the backcountry this year.  It may just be one of those years that we don’t get to do all the descents or drops that we want to, but at least we’ll live to do it another day.  

I’m off to X Games for a few days and then back to BC to do some filming.  Maybe I’ll see you in the backcountry!