Twenty-four-year-old Canadian ski pro from Whistler, British Columbia, Ian McIntosh, has been filmed in a horrifying fall in the Alaskan Neacola mountain range. From where McIntosh first falls, to where he finally comes to a rest, is reported to be about 500 meters or 1,600 feet.
McIntosh is wearing a microphone while he tumbles, head over feet, over and over again, for about 45 seconds. He can be heard grunting and groaning in pain each time his body slams against the mountain. When the Canadian ski pro comes to a stop, he can be seen sitting up and stating in a groggy, disoriented voice “I’m OK.”
Teton Gravity Research co-founder Todd Jones was quoted, stating that McIntosh’s fall “was the most terrifying crash I’ve ever seen.”
McIntosh was wearing an “airbag,” of the type described in a Giz Mag article, which he inflated after he was caught off-guard by a trench that he reported was about five feet deep, and was hidden to him in his studies of the mountain. After he lost control he inflated his airbag to protect himself against injuries.
McIntosh is reported to have started skiing when he was 22-months-old, and comes from a family of avid skiers, according to his biography with Teton Gravity Research. He grew up near Banff, Alberta, and once he was old enough, he moved to Whistler to follow his dream of being a professional skier.
“I got out of high school and moved to the closest awesome ski resort that I could find,” McIntosh was quoted in his North Face biography. “I traveled abroad, did New Zealand, did the eternal winter thing, and that lifestyle set the pace for what I wanted to do with my life.”
McIntosh is reported to be 6’2″ and to weigh 185 pounds, making him larger than many of his professional skiing peers. His strength and leverage translate into big moves and long, high speed runs that make use of entire mountains.
“I like to ski strong and big,” McIntosh stated. He describes an appreciation for “big mountain skiing.” He appears to enjoy making study of the entire mountain face, setting up “the line and the turns” to ski an entire mountain “top to bottom.”
McIntosh was said to break into the skiing limelight while still a teenager, when he traveled to New Zealand and competed in the World Heli Challenge, where he met another Canadian pro named Pierre Yves LeBlanc. LeBlanc reportedly encouraged McIntosh to ski in Whistler for a season, which led to McIntosh’s move, according to Völkl.
The Canadian skier then entered as many Big Mountain competitions as he could and placed second in the Verbier Xtreme 2004. This caught the attention of Teton Gravity Research, who began including McIntosh in their films in 2005, with Anomoly. McIntosh has appeared in numerous TGR films since then. He is reputed to known as a “charger.”
McIntosh was said to be able to walk away from his Alaskan fall, and while he must have suffered some scrapes and bruises, reports suggest that he’s going to be OK. Wearing a protective airbag may have helped save McIntosh from more serious injuries as well.
In a 2010 blog post, Ian McIntosh included photos from an Alaskan skiing expedition to Petersburg where he skied Devil’s Thumb, and he describes how “stoked” he was to be a part of TGR and have the chance to make trips to unexplored parts of Alaska and ski mountains that no one else has ever skied before. McIntosh described his Alaska travels as a “dream come true” as he shows photos of mountain features with names like “Mono Spine” and “Witches Cauldron.”