Professional skier Ian McIntosh said it “felt like an eternity” when he plunged 1,600 feet down an Alaskan mountain after mistakenly skiing into a five-foot trench.
“It surprised the heck out of me,” McIntosh told ABC News. “I had no idea that was coming [and] I knew at that point it was game over and I was going for the ride of my life.”
McIntosh was filming the new ski movie “Paradise Waits” on Alaska’s Neacola mountain range last April when he took the fall, every sound and view of which was captured on microphones and cameras.
“It felt like I was getting hit by linebackers the whole way down the mountain over and over again, full-sprinting linebackers,” he said. “It felt like an eternity. It really did.”
“I thought this was never going to stop,” McIntosh said of the nearly one-minute fall, which he attributes to not studying the line thoroughly enough in a rush to film before sunset.
McIntosh’s skiing experience may have saved his life because he had the presence of mind, in the midst of the fall, to deploy the airbag built into his backpack.
McIntosh said the airbag, originally designed to save people from an avalanche, became his “life jacket” while he was flying down the mountain. Other than a few bruises, McIntosh said he was uninjured.
He also said he is undeterred when it comes to getting back on his skis.
“I don’t want to die. I don’t have a death wish. I’m not the type, but I do wish to live life to the fullest and go out there and live my dreams,” said McIntosh, who was back on skis two days after the fall. “And this kind of stuff is what I dream about. It's what I lay awake thinking about.”