Note to self: Be extra careful when skiing tight trees. Just ask Natty Hagood, an instructor at Jackson Hole.
Earlier this week he was boarding with his roommate and a visitor. “I was coming down Thunder and it was our first run of the day. I had made the first five turns and was coming back to lift line when I saw a gap between two trees. With my experience, you can bash between trees and it’s not that big of a deal,” he told the Idaho State Journal. “But this time I guess I didn’t get away with it.”
For Hagood, 29, it took a while to realize the dramatic extent of having an 18-inch piece of forestry sticking out of his head. “I thought maybe my chinstrap got pushed up into my face, so I tried to brush it off and that’s when I felt the stick,” he told the Journal. “So I shook left to right and saw the stick moving in my peripherals. I reached out and grabbed it and wiggled it before realizing it was pretty far in there.”
Suddenly he got the total picture: “Holy crap, I just got impaled,” he said. With his vital signs apparently OK, Hagood next stated the obvious to his buddy. “I yelled over to Pete, ‘Hey look, I got a new piercing.’”
All’s well that comes out well, apparently. Hagood, who's been an instructor at Jackson for three years, left the hospital with 15 stitches, his attitude intact, and an outstanding après story (complete with viral-ready photos) to tell for the rest of his days. He also left, naturally, with a bill to pay.
“The surgery to remove the stick will easily cost me over a thousand dollars,” Hagood says on the GoFundMe page he set up. “This was totally unplanned and sucks so if y'all would be so kind as to chip in for my medical expenses that would be sooo cool.”
Interestingly, this incident is sparking a mini-debate in the ski community. Members of the Jackson community, and others, are donating to help cover medical expenses, while others take the position that people should pay for their own mistakes, so you're on your own, buddy.
Either way, as Hagood noted to the Journal, it’s beer through a straw for the immediate future.
For more on Jackson Hole, head here.