Moment man gets caught in avalanche in Colorado
‘Holy f**k’: Moment pro skier gets hit face first in Colorado avalanche before ski partner gets hit by SECOND avalanche and slides 1,600 feet at 50 mph trying to save him
- Ryan McClure and Connor Ryan had never skied together before when they hit the ‘dreamy’ King Solomon slope in San Juans, Colorado, on April 28
- Ryan was swept up in the first avalanche, but the pro-skier was able to get on top of the snow and came away uninjured, although ski-less
- McClure was caught in a second avalanche trying to save Ryan and was dropped 1,600 feet at 50mph
A professional skier got caught in an avalanche in Colorado and his ski partner got seriously injured while trying to save him when a second snow slide dropped him 1,600 feet at 50mph.
Ryan McClure and Connor Ryan had never skied together before when they hit the ‘dreamy’ King Solomon slope in San Juans, Colorado, on April 28.
Although they knew inches of fresh snowfall had fallen on the mountain the night before their big debut, they never expected to be swept up in two avalanches that nearly took McClure’s life.
‘We’d been assessing the snowpack on the way up, but the conditions that I found were just very different from what I had expected,’ professional skier Ryan told Denver 7.
It was Ryan that got caught in the first avalanche, but fortunately for the athlete, he was able to get above the snow and was not seriously injured.
In videos posted to his Instagram, viewers can hear a distressed Ryan grunting through the fall and blistering white snow circulates around his black skies. There are moments where only white snow can be seen in the video before the professional manages to get on top of the snow and the beautiful Colorado mountains come into view.
Connor Ryan was traversing the King Solomon slope with Ryan McClure on April 28 when he was swept up in an avalanche (pictured)
Ryan was uninjured but left ski-less, which causes McClure to have to come down and rescue him
A post shared by Connor Ryan (@sacredstoke)
As he manages to get a seated position on the snow, Ryan’s heavy breaths can be heard as he stabilizes himself on the slopes as the end of the avalanche slides the mountainside.
‘Holy f**k,’ Ryan can be heard saying as he can be seen ski-less on the slope.
McClure then traversed the dangerous slope to help his friend, who couldn’t get down the mountain with his just shoes.
‘I made a small ski cut, trying to test the reactivity and the slope, it didn’t budge,’ McClure told Denver 7. He slowly began to move down the mountain, but seconds later: ‘I kind of looked up above me, and the whole thing started moving. And it very quickly got out of hand.’
Ryan heard one of their ski partners say over the radio: ‘Avalanche, avalanche, avalanche,’ but by the time he called it, McClure had already been swallowed up and according to his smartwatch, had dropped 1,600 feet going 50mph.
Ryan McClure (right) and Connor Ryan (left) had never skied together before when they hit the ‘dreamy’ King Solomon slope in San Juans, Colorado, on April 28
This had lead McClure to have to traverse the dangerous slope to help his friend, who couldn’t get down the mountain with his just shoes. However, McClure was caught in a second avalanche, which dropped him 1,600 feet at 50mph
When he landed, his femur was sticking out of his body and Ryan had to put his leg in a tourniquet and he was life-flighted to the hospital, where he underwent three surgeries
‘I remember specifically being airborne for a long enough time to go: “Wow, I’m still in the air,”‘ he told Denver 7.
Unlike Ryan, McClure did not escape unscathed and his femur was broken and sticking out of his body.
‘I was buried about to my chest here. The only thing I could see was my femur sticking out of my leg,’ he told the local outlet.
The second avalanche was seen going much further down the mountain that Ryan had dropped.
This time Ryan had to carefully traverse down the slope to McClure, who was badly injured. Once he reached his ski partner, he had to put McClure’s leg in a tourniquet to stop the bleeding, which the injured man said was the ‘worst thing I have ever felt in my entire life.’
The second avalanche brought McClure (left) much further down the mountain that Ryan (right) had dropped
McClure has since been released from the hospital and is recovering at home
Despite his excellent rendering of the tourniquet, Ryan was worried McClure would ‘die in his arms.’
‘We sat there and just embraced,’ McClure recalled to Denver 7. ‘I’ve never felt closer to a person.’
Ryan and McClure eventually called for help and used a GPS and satellite communicator to alert Silverton Medical Rescue to their exact location.
McClure was life-flighted to the hospital, where he would undergo three surgeries on his leg for his ‘compounded distal femur fracture with a complete rupture of the quadricep tendon and patellar tendon.’
It could take him up to six months before he can start walking again, doctors said. He has since been released from the hospital to recover from home.
Despite his life-threatening injury, McClure is ready to hit the slopes again with Ryan in the future.
‘[I look forward to] getting back on the slopes, Connor and I,’ he told Denver 7. ‘And actually going on a ski tour that doesn’t involve a flight for life helicopter.’
His girlfriend has started to a GoFundMe to help McClure during his recovery, as he cannot work during his recovery.
‘We need support with medical bills from three invasive surgeries, two Flight for Life transports, living in Denver while Ryan initially recovers, living expenses (like rent) while Ryan is unable to work in recovery, driving an hour from Silverton to the nearest doctor in Durango for ongoing care and more,’ Lindsey Halvorson wrote.
They are donating 10 percent of the proceeds to Silverton Medical Rescue, as ‘Ryan would not have made it out of there without [their] heroic efforts.’
The GoFundMe has raised more than $15,000 of its $25,000 goal.
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