Surviving Avalanche and Massive Injury, Dad Reconsiders Risk

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Strong from ARC'TERYX on Vimeo.

A neverending topic among us parents will always be how much risk is too much risk? That's not to say we're flogging an awfully dead horse, either. We must constantly evaluate and determine our own margins for error because there's so much at stake. One guy who certainly gets a hell of a voice in the matter is Roger Strong, climber, skier, husband, father, and, now, avalanche survivor, and subject of this superb short.

"My mantra has been, ever since we learned that Merridy's pregnant," narrates Strong, "I'm climbing and skiing smarter." Except one day up on Snoqualmie Pass with a fresh 12" coat of snow, he admits, he strayed outside his margin just a tiny bit. And then . . . "there was 14 seconds of just mayhem."

That tiny bit made all the difference.

An avalanche broke and carried Strong into a cluster of trees in a way that clotheslined his skis. The force shredded his legs, tearing his tibias from his femurs. I wince and grab my calves just to write this — sheezuz. Strong spent over three months in a wheelchair, but you know what? He has his life, his family, another day to be in the mountains, and these blessings are not lost on him. Exactly 365 days after the disaster, and after untold hours in physical therapy he returned to the site on his skis.

I can't speak for the guy, nor should I, so hear his account of things, and his well-earned thoughts on risk and how that affects raising a family, it's all in this video. It's introspective and beautiful at once, making perfect thought candy for the day. Have at it.

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