[VIDEO] Scott Gaffney Breaks Shoulder Blade, Collapses Lung in Horrible Crash on Eagle’s Nest at Palisades Tahoe, CA

Martin Kuprianowicz | CrashCrash


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A post shared by Scott Gaffney (@scottgaffski)

Freeskiing icon Scott Gaffney ended his 50th season on skis with a bang… to his scapula when he broke it attempting to huck Eagle’s Nest at Palisades Tahoe the other day. The video above shows his crash and it looked like it HURT.

After reportedly breaking his shoulder blade and collapsing his lung in the crash, the legendary Palisades Tahoe skier is all-ok and is expected to make a full recovery. He wrote in an Instagram post regarding his crash:

Well, my 50th year on skis recently closed in dramatic fashion: I broke myself off.

I think I’ve skied Eagle’s Nest—aka McConkey’s—13 times, but I’d never hit it looking so perfect. Fluted, glowing, beckoning. Unfortunately, the skies socked in the other day with light snowfall, but it still looked so good.

I thought I had some weird positive juju with this line, like these higher forces would protect me from getting hurt on it. After all, The Nest is where I went to find strength when my mom got cancer. It’s where I got engaged. It was re-named after my best friend when he died. He’d look after me, right?

Well, none of that worked. I dry-docked midline and went for the gnarliest tumble of my life. In the middle of an inadvertent double front flip off the exit air I struck rock with my back—unquestionably the most brutal impact I’ve ever felt (and I’ve been broken, torn and lacerated from head to toe). While still airborne after the hit I even recall thinking, “God, that really just happened???”

After tumbling into the trees I shouted to a companion, “I’m okay!” But I realized I really wasn’t. Knowing these kinds of traumatic hits can cause one to spiral downhill in a hurry, I wanted to get out of there quickly. But one ski was still inaccessible up on the face. Some friends arrived after several minutes, a patroller showed up with a tiny rental carving ski with demo bindings, and with their help I made the agonizing descent to the bottom.

The damage? A broken scapula and collapsed lung requiring a chest tube. A bunged up arm. Two nights in the hospital. And a missed trip to AK (flight was for 7am the next morning).

I can only be thankful it wasn’t worse. It can always be worse. I’ll be sidelined for a while, but it looks like a good time to transition into editing season!

A big shoutout goes out to @afox_inspots @c0nnery @xanderfire @deep__days @doublenizz and the crew at Tahoe Forest Hospital. Thank you! #homeandhealing

Heal up quick, you legend—next winter will be here before you know it!

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4 thoughts on “[VIDEO] Scott Gaffney Breaks Shoulder Blade, Collapses Lung in Horrible Crash on Eagle’s Nest at Palisades Tahoe, CA

  1. Never too gnarly if he achieved all those Likes. Why else would you ski such a consequential line unless you had the certainty of getting it on your Gram before you finished coughing up your blood.

  2. The other 99% of the world know exactly what is meant by dry docking. Not sure why anyone would ever do what your definition is, but you do you.

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