Skier Captures Scary POV Footage as Avalanche Throws Him off Mountain
A skier had a very close call after a small avalanche sent him failing down a mountain leaving him with nasty injuries.
Owen Leeper captured his plight on a POV helmet camera as the snow chute he was skiing on gave way leaving him unable to control his descent. A second angle captured on a drone shows a more general view of the incident.
The big mountain skier was lucky to escape with just a dislocated shoulder and a gash to his knee after he fell an enormous height down the face of a mountain in Jackson Hole, Wyoming last month.
“Feeling very lucky right now,” Leeper writes on his Instagram page. “Scoped out this chute a few days ago, and thought it looked great, tight turns, to two different sections of rocks to jump.
“I knew exactly what I wanted to do, but the third turn-in, the slope gave way and it pulled me through the chute, bouncing off the rock walls and losing a ski. I came to a stop after the second set of rocks, and could feel my shoulder had popped out.”
Leeper had to radio a fellow skier for help who tried to pop Leeper’s shoulder back in but was unable to do so, forcing them to call for a rescue helicopter.
“Roughly three hours after popping it out, three people in the emergency room were finally able to get my shoulder to go back in,” he says.
“I am very lucky I didn’t hit my head or break any bones, only bruises, some stitches in my knee and my injured shoulder. I will have to get an MRI to see if there is any damage to it.”
Leeper says the avalanche forecast was “moderate” that day and he wasn’t too worried about the snow collapsing underneath him.
“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,” he explains.
“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.”
Leeper suffered a torn labrum and a small rotator cuff tear with a bone bruise but he’s already back on his skis and hoping to avoid surgery.