Alaska News

Video: Skier survives 1,600-foot fall in Southwest Alaska mountain range

Few of today's adventure sports fans probably remember the "agony of defeat" video that opened ABC's "Wide World of Sports" decades ago, showing Slovenian ski jumper Vinko Bogataj's spectacular crash in 1970.

It's been upstaged. Right here in Alaska.

Canadian professional skier Ian McIntosh somehow survived a 1,600-foot head-over-heels-over-head-over-heels tumble lasting nearly a minute in Alaska's Neacola Range about 120 miles southwest of Anchorage, an area pockmarked with numerous 3,000-foot couloirs. The video, with audio of his gasps, is frightening.

"While filming for "Paradise Waits" (a skiing and snowboarding film), Mac dropped into a line he thought he had studied thoroughly enough, only to fall into an unseen 5-foot-deep trench on one of his first turns," Todd Jones, a co-founder of Teton Gravity Research, the action sports entertainment company based in Jackson, Wyoming, said in a press release.

McIntosh, who's also a BASE jumper, immediately yells "No" when he realizes what is happening.

"From there," McIntosh said afterwards, my slough took over and there was no way to stop. I pulled my airbag to help prevent against any possible trauma injuries as I tumbled to the bottom."

It "was the most terrifying crash I've ever seen," Jones said.


The fall happened April 10, but the video was only uploaded to YouTube last week — probably because "Paradise Waits" opens in theaters this week.

And McIntosh on Tuesday alerted fans on his Facebook page: "Make sure you check out "Good Morning America" tomorrow morning for yours truly. Talking big mountain skiing and crashing huge. Haha!"

Mike Campbell

Mike Campbell was a longtime editor for Alaska Dispatch News, and before that, the Anchorage Daily News.