Pro skier Ian McIntosh credits the airbag attached to his backpack with saving his life in a massive tumble that probably should have killed him.
It was the airbag that helped cushion the fall and keep him above the snow as the skier cartwheeled roughly 1,600 feet down the side of a mountain.
The accident occurred during the taping of a video in Alaska’s Neacola mountain range. The footage captured by a helicopter shows the British Columbia native make a few turns on a giant hillside with what looks like loose powdered snow. He then falls, losing one of his skis.
What’s remarkable is that Mac was mic’d the whole time. From there you can hear him moan and grunt his way down the mountainside for nearly a minute.
At one point his body is hucked over a ledge and disappears in a ball of snow. If it weren’t for the airbag that helps the skier stay above the snow at this point, he may have perished at this point.
When he finally comes to rest you can hear the wiped out skier catch his breath and take a moment to assess his body. “I’m okay!” he yells to the relief of everyone.
Teton Gravity Research founder Todd Jones, who is producing the film called it the most terrifying crash he’d ever seen. In the Youtube video description, it’s explained that he studied the route but fell into an unseen 5-foot deep trench on one of his initial turns.
“From there, my slough took over and their was no way to stop, I pulled my airbag to help prevent against any possible trauma injuries as I tumbled to the bottom,” he said.
For more of McIntosh’s more successful work check out Paradise Waits, which is currently on a worldwide screening tour.
Photo credit: Youtube screenshot