VIDEO: Skier Films Himself Getting Caught in Avalanche in Jackson Hole
As a skier or snowboarder, one of the biggest considerations when going down a mountain is whether or not there's a possibility of an avalanche. Typically, this is something that is monitored and there are various forecasts that determine the probability of an avalanche. But that isn't a sure thing, and sometimes avalanches happen.
That's what happened to skier Owen Leeper during a recent trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Leeper, a self-professed 'Big Mountain Skier and Mountaineer,' films himself skiing every chance that he gets and, recently, Leeper actually filmed himself getting caught in an avalanche in the Grand Tetons.
That's according to an Instagram post from Leeper, in which he writes that "The avalanche forecast was moderate, with sunny skies, temps were in the high 20's at upper elevation."
Leeper wrote that he checked out the mountain before his run and "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."
Except, that's exactly what happened.
Leeper said that he wasn't worried about an avalanche, he was more worried about the rocky terrain.
Unfortunately for him, on this day, he dealt with both.
"I knew I had to take it slow, to see the choke before being able to ski through it," Lepper wrote. "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."
Video shows that Leeper hits those rocks hard. But he didn't have time to feel the pain; he had some decisions to make.
"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," he wrote. "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."
It was, relatively, a softer landing than what it could have been. But immediately, Leeper knew he was hurt.
"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," he wrote. "I radioed up to [my friend] 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 Teton County Search and Rescue flew me out. It took 3 people to finally get my shoulder back in at the emergency room."
Leeper said he was lucky that he didn't hit his head or have any broken bones. He just had a dislocated shoulder and had to get some stitches in his knee.
His story proves that when it comes to mountains like the ones in the Jackson Backcountry, you can never be too careful. He also showed how important it is to make sure people know where you are and what you're doing.
Photos from his fall can be seen below, as can two different angles from his slide through the avalanche!
Skier Films Himself Getting Caught in Avalanche in Jackson Hole
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