Incredible story of survival for a 34-year-old Tahoe skier over President’s Day weekend. Kyle Johnston was skiing near the Blue Lakes just south of Lake Tahoe last month when the snow above him fractured and he had to make a split second decision:
“Due to the way the avalanche broke, it broke above me and not below me. I just got really lucky, simply put. Where it was taking me, if I had gone with it, was taking me to where I felt a really bad outcome.”
Instead Johnson opted for a 100-foot cliff jump:
“Once I landed, I knocked out and was unconscious. Then I got buried by all the snow that was behind.”
He was buried for 5 minutes in a bomb hole before his cousin located him by his hand poking out of the surface and dug him out. Johnson suffered a punctured lung, concussion, five broken vertebrae, several broken ribs and a minor brain bleed. He spent 12 days hospitalized.
“I got really lucky. I don’t know how to say it. The mountains, they are not forgiving sometimes, but I was lucky that they were very for giving for me.”
Johnson has a long road to recovery but fully plans to return to backcountry skiing once he’s healed up. Get well soon buddy.