“I Was Buried About to My Chest”: Group of Friends Experience Their Worst Nightmare as Skiing Trip Turns Into a Disaster

Published 05/08/2023, 1:59 PM EDT

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Who does not want to go on a dreamy skiing trip? Covering the slopes of snow-capped mountains. Winding through valleys that are extremely beautiful and picturesque. Experiencing nothing but peace and tranquility as one zips through the pristine white landscape. As idyllic and soothing skiing trips are, dangers still lurk around when one is among the frozen valleys.

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The most common danger, and one of the scariest natural calamities, that anyone can suffer through, have to be avalanches. Ryan McClure and Connor Ryan suffered the same unfortunate fate when they were on a skiing trip in the San Juans with two other friends.

Spring backcountry skiing trip turns into a disaster

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The group headed to a mountain called King Solomon, where they had picked out a perfect line for skiing. The mountain was covered with inches of snow, which had fallen just the night before. McClure and Ryan, along with their friends, set out to explore the snow-laden territory. However, what they found was not immaculate white snow to conquer, but instead, the stuff of absolute nightmares. While scouting the territory, both McClure and Ryan got caught in treacherous avalanches one after the other.

According to a report by Denver 7 on the incident, Ryan got stuck in a mid-winter avalanche with dry snow moving at a high rate of speed. Ryan was able to get on top of the snow, however, was stuck without his skis. Therefore, McClure had to jump in to assist his friend. Understanding that utmost caution was the need of the hour, McClure tested the snow, but the most minacious occurrence took place. McClure described the incident saying, “I kind of looked up above me, and the whole thing started moving. And it very quickly got out of hand. I remember specifically being airborne for a long enough time to go, ‘Wow, I’m still in the air’.”

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As McClure crashed down, he hit a part of the mountain, and the most gruesome injury was inflicted upon him. His femur broke and pierced through his skin, sticking out of his leg. McClure described the gory situation, saying, “I was buried about to my chest here. The only thing I could see was my femur sticking out of my leg.” McClure was immobilized, and Ryan valiantly came to the rescue of his companion. A tourniquet was fashioned around the injured’s leg, and the group called Silverton Medical Rescue through their GPS and satellite communicator.

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The aftermath of the grisly incident

McClure was taken to the hospital by the rescue team and had to get multiple surgeries to cure his broken femur. Although, the good news is that he is now well on his way to recovery and at home with his family. McClure described his horrendous injury, saying, “The injury is a compounded distal femur fracture with a complete rupture of the quadricep tendon and patellar tendon.” While he is currently on bed rest, according to the doctors, he can attempt to get on his feet in six months.

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Both McClure and Ryan feel lucky to be alive and have expressed immense gratitude for their rescue team as well as the training they received that probably saved their lives. In spite of the incident being a terrifying one, it has not dampened their love for skiing, and they plan to continue, McClure when he is fully healed. Although, they send out a word of caution for anyone who is planning to explore the backcountry. McClure said he now has “a different appreciation for the mountains and how real, raw, dangerous and fulfilling they are.”

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Written by:

Apoorva Behl

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Apoorva Behl is a sports writer for EssentiallySports. With a range that would make Bruce Lee proud, Apoorva’s writing embodies the philosophy of "Be Like Water," flowing seamlessly between a diverse range of sports and sensitive angles. Her articles are known to resonate with her audience, earning her a common spot on the Editor’s Pick list.
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