Distributor of Ideas
Staff

View this post on Instagram

Beautiful or deadly? On Monday, March 9th I was involved in a serious accident near Pemberton. I’m writing this from the hospital in Vancouver (day 4) where I’m hoping I can leave soon. After a couple of great runs, I eyed up this nice-looking pillow rib line and to my misfortune, up high on the run, I broke a pillow off that sent hard chunks barreling down the gulley I was planning on exiting. As I finished the line, the chunks redirected me through trees and smashed me onto the lake, burying me 120cm down. For minutes I lied under the snow, holding on to faith that my friends who were close by would come to my aid. They prevailed through my beacon being smashed into the “off” position (no signal) and with a lucky probe strike, dug me out quickly. Quickly realizing that I wasn’t ok, they called for Pemberton SAR and stabilized me, keeping me warm for 2 hours while we waited for rescue. My arm was the main concern, both bones in my forearm were shattered and displaced, as well as very unstable. I was coughing up blood and had chest pain. Hearing the helicopter come was an unexplainable wave of relief. I escaped with multiple forearm breaks (repaired by surgery) and a bruised heart, and some minor bleeding inside my lungs. I can’t thank the @tetongravity crew enough who was there that day, @ianmcintosh @christinalusti @bdanncreative @samsmoothy @aronasaurus1 @eparkerphoto_ I owe you my life. I also owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Pemberton Search and Rescue for the swift ride to the hospital, thinking about making my way out under my own power and adding many painful hours to my ordeal makes me feel ill. And a huge thank you to the wonderful @kelirwin for taking such great care of me these last few days, bringing my spirit up and making sure I was well fed and comfortable. Thanks to all who reached out and expressed concern. I’ll be back! In my opinion, a bit of a freak accident and I don’t think any poor decisions were made that day. A broken arm is a speed bump and I’m excited to heal up and ski again later this spring.

A post shared by Nick McNutt (@nickmcnutt) on

Advertisement

There’s always a chance of it happening: snowboarders and skiers, filming in the backcountry, riding wild snow in wild places getting caught in avalanches. It happened to snowboarder Brock Crouch in 2018. Freeride World Tour athletes Estelle Balet and Matilda Rapaport perished in separate slides while filming in 2016. It’s part of the game.

Professional skier Nick McNutt revealed on Instagram this week that he was caught in a nasty avalanche while filming for a Teton Gravity Research production. McNutt, who’s from Squamish, British Columbia and has navigated these situations before, chose a complicated pillow line near Pemberton, when something went terribly wrong: “I eyed up this nice-looking pillow rib line and to my misfortune, up high on the run, I broke a pillow off that sent hard chunks barreling down the gulley I was planning on exiting. As I finished the line, the chunks redirected me through trees and smashed me onto the lake, burying me 120cm down.”

McNutt was buried under nearly four feet of snow for “minutes” while he waited for rescue. During the trauma of the slide, his avalanche beacon was smashed into the off position, so he wasn’t giving off a signal. A “lucky strike” from an avalanche probe and his rescuers found him. But his arm was badly broken and he says he was coughing up blood from internal injuries (you can see him get bounced violently against a tree in the video). He had to wait for two hours before being flown out to Vancouver. But he’s now alive and safe. “I can’t thank the crew that was there enough,” he said. “I owe you my life.”

Advertisement

Newsletter

Only the best. We promise.

Contribute

Join our community of contributors.

Apply