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Ouch. That was a nasty crash.

Please scroll to the bottom of the page for related video.

One of the most talked about film segments from the current crop involves a horrific crash by freeskier Ian McIntosh. It’s captured in high-def in One for the Road from Teton Gravity Research. The Canadian broke his femur when a cliff jump went awry while shooting on location near Juneau, Alaska. Check out the video at the bottom of the page (that’s McIntosh at 1:25). And here’s what happened—in his words.


My first moment of concern was right when I saw the crux on my last turn before I dropped off an icy cliff. I wasn’t super scared yet. I landed a little short on the icy cliff face and went down, but even then I was like—another tomahawk, I’ve experienced lots of these. The snow where I initially fell was soft. But then all of a sudden it was ice and rock.


I felt my femur crack and snap. Then I didn’t have control of the limb anymore. I could feel that the bone was in half. It was just a noodle. It was a sickening feeling. At that point you’re not feeling enough pain to distract you from the grossness.


I was trying to lock my quad as tight as I could to keep things from moving around too much. It felt like it was helping, a little bit. I was able to keep my leg from spinning up on me.


You’re in a ridiculous amount of pain, you have no way of moving, and you’re completely helpless. Fortunately I was with an awesome crew that I trust with my life and they got me out of there quick.


I’m so frickin’ passionate about what I get to do right now in my life that the thought of it just suddenly ending in a situation like that was completely horrifying. At that point and I knew I had a broken femur, but there was so much pain. I was like, is my tib-fib gone too, what else have I done down there?


If it’s shattered, it could be an injury where you’re lucky if you ever ski again. That was the worst part for me. The run before was a cloud nine experience. I felt more alive than I’ve ever felt. Then I was at the very bottom—the worst I’ve ever felt—just a few minutes later.


When the doctor came in and said it’s a clean break, we were high-fiving.


Seven weeks after I broke my leg, I went down to Jackson to the TGR offices to work on some editing and see the shots from the season. That’s when I first saw the footage. It was almost a puker, for sure. I’ve seen it a couple dozen times, and I’m better now so it doesn’t bother me in the same way. I’m back to life.  —Olivia Dwyer

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