VANCOUVER â€” Star Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris says he “almost died” when he crashed going off a jump in the B.C. backcountry last weekend.
The Olympic bronze medallist tweeted Friday for the first time since the accident.
He called the past week the hardest of his life.
“Sorry for the silence,” he added. “I almost died and now I’m trying to get better.”
He ended the tweet by saying “stories are coming.”
A bronze medallist in slopestyle at the 2014 Olympics, McMorris suffered breaks to his jaw and left arm, a ruptured spleen, a stable pelvic fracture, rib fractures and a collapsed left lung.
The 23-year-old from Regina had to be airlifted off the mountain and underwent two separate surgeries over the weekend to control bleeding and repair his jaw and arm.
Earlier this week, his older brother Craig, who was with him on the backcountry excursion and called for help with his satellite phone, described the crash as a “freak accident.”
“It was pretty small,” Craig said of the jump. “It was infinitely below our skill level … but Mark flew a little too far left and ended up in some trees, which is super unfortunate.”
Fans of backcountry skiing and snowboarding seek out fresh fallen snow on unmarked and ungroomed slopes in remote areas that usually aren’t maintained or patrolled by the personnel seen at traditional resorts.
“Mark was conscious, talking to us, explaining what was the most painful,” said Craig, also an accomplished professional snowboarder. “You’re making sure he can breathe and he’s communicating with us and is still awake.
“If you’re super scared or panicked then you’re wasting time. You just go into full adrenaline, full: ‘We’ve got to get out of here as soon as possible.’ And we did.”
Craig said the helicopter arrived in under two hours. Mark was initially taken to Whistler before being flown to Vancouver.
He said his brother is still hopeful he’ll be recovered in time to compete at the 2018 Olympics. Despite the injuries, Canada Snowboard announced this week he has been provisionally nominated to the team for the Pyeongchang Games.
If he’s able to compete, Mark McMorris is considered a strong medal contender heading into 2018, especially with the big air event now included alongside slopestyle.
McMorris won three X Games medals this season along with two World Cup Crystal Globes, one for big air and another as the overall champion.
His stellar campaign came on the heels of another serious injury suffered in February 2016 when he caught an edge on a landing at an event in Los Angeles.
McMorris â€” who has 14 combined X Games medals in his career, including five in big air â€” fractured his right femur and had a metal rod surgically implanted in his thigh.
The Canadian Press