Spring is prime time for charging big lines in Alaska as the days get longer and the snow gets more consistent. But sometimes, things can go wrong. Last week, Bode Merrill, an innovative snowboarder known for his creative urban and free riding, was caught in an avalanche west of Haines, Alaska and buried under three feet of snow.
According to reports, Merrill stepped out of the helicopter onto an overhang–that sounded as if it was a cornice–and the snow let loose before he had time to put on his gear. He was carried 600 feet down a slope before the slide buried him. Rescue crews got to him quickly and were able to rescue him. He was reportedly still breathing. Merrill–a 2014 X Games gold medalist for Real Snow who this year starred in Broken Mechanism–was airlifted to Haines before being flown to a Juneau hospital where he spent the night, sustaining non-life threatening injuries.
Merrill, 29, lives in Utah and is a veritable folk hero in the sport. He’s spurned mainstream contest riding and has instead gone the route of making innovative films that have inspired a generation of snowboarders.