Snowboarder's bear chase video deemed fake by many viewers

Dylan Stableford
·Senior Writer

The snowboarder, identified as Kelly Murphy, posted the footage to YouTube on Sunday.

In it, Murphy uses a selfie stick to film herself carving a few turns down an otherwise empty hill at Japan’s Hakuba 47 resort, singing Rihanna's "Work" as she does. As she turns, the bear can be seen and heard over her shoulder before appearing to give up the chase as she comes to a stop about a minute later.

"OMG!" Murphy wrote on Twitter. "I was going through my snowboarding videos and I found a bear chasing me!!! I nearly got eaten!!!"

"This was at Hakuba 47 in Japan, filmed yesterday!" she added. "Be careful people!!!"

“I was freaking out when I saw it,” Murphy, described as a 19-year-old student from Sydney, told Australia's 9 News.

Is this snowboarder's bear footage real? (Kelly Murphy/YouTube)
Is this snowboarder's bear footage real? (Kelly Murphy/YouTube)

Some media outlets — including London's Sky News and the U.K.'s Daily Mail — were quick to post the video, which has already amassed more than 200,000 views on the video sharing site.

"She bear-ly escaped!" the Daily Mail exclaimed in its headline. "The incredible moment an unsuspecting snowboarder appears to be chased by a giant bear."

The paper even elaborated on the video's "plausibility":

Asiatic bears are sometimes seen around the resort. Loudspeakers are even placed nearby in Haukuba village to warn people when they are spotted. ... Also the bears come out of hibernation in March, so are only likely to be seen in the spring skiing season in April and early May.

But plenty of others were just as quick to call bull on the bear chase.

"That bear chasing a snowboarder in Japan seems an awful lot like a Jimmy Kimmel prank," Tim Cato wrote on SBNation, listing five reasons why. Among them: the video's use of a recent pop hit ("The inclusion of the snowboarder singing Rihanna's 'Work' feels like an addition solely to help it go viral") and the sparsely populated YouTube channel it was posted on.

The page includes just three videos, with the other two uploaded last week in an effort, perhaps, to make the bear video seem more believable. And all three show Murphy in the snowboarding in the same outfit in the same conditions — which would seem to debunk her claim that the bear video was "filmed yesterday."

YouTube commenters, though, weren't taking the bait.

(Kelly Murphy/YouTube)
(Kelly Murphy/YouTube)

"That bear is more obviously CGI than the Star Wars prequels," one wrote.

"It must be a slow news day," wrote another.

Some even recognized the bear footage as animation from a video game: "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

"Bear animation from Skyrim + the same sound loop," one commenter wrote. "Played Skyrim for like 2 years so as soon as I saw it, I knew it was fake."

Fake or not, a few of the commenters were disappointed.

"I wish the fake bear had fake eaten her to stop that awful song," one wrote.

"If you own a selfie stick," another quipped, "you deserve to be mauled by a bear."