What's the worst thing that could happen to you whilst riding? For many, breaking their spine in the backcountry would count amongst their top fears.
Unfortunately, for Alex Gavic this fear came true when he slipped out halfway through a pretty innocuous looking pillow line, butt checked and broke his back - gaining a compression fracture along his lower lumbar: L1.
Fortunately, he was with good people that called in a helicopter to transport him to a nearby trauma unit, saving his spine and maybe his life in the process.
It's always advisable to score those freshies with a buddy. No friends on a powder day is just stupid.
It's a grim but necessary reminder that things can sometimes go horribly wrong out there - even on the first run of the day like in this case - and that's it's always advisable to score those freshies with a buddy. No friends on a powder day is just stupid.
Luckily however, this story has a happy ending: Alex did regain full mobility and was able to come back charging the next winter on - the middle of the above video is a pretty amazing season edit consisting of his adventures spiltboarding in the Wasatch mountains.
Pretty inspiring stuff, especially the the endless face shots at 3.00 and the laid out back flip at 3.48, great reminders that even after the very worst has happened, snowboarding can still be rad.
So in summary: always ride with a friend, get good insurance and don't let anything get you down - the snow will always be there when you heal.