UTAH -- A backcountry skier thought he was just going over a jump, but instead he dropped off a cliff.
He walked away with no injuries, something he calls a "miracle."
Two skiers were exploring the backcountry near Mount Timpanogos January 18. It was a blue bird day with tons of fresh powder, and they said they couldn’t ask for better conditions--until things literally went downhill.
“We were skiing “Timp” it was all going great,” said Devin Stratton of Orem.
Video captured on his GoPro camera shows untouched snow as far as the eye can see. Last Wednesday was a powder junky's dream come true. Stratton and his friend Matthew Reeves were shredding the mountain slopes.
“I was going over some jumps, seeing these tracks, thinking it's all good; then I hit a jump at the edge of the cliff and realize it's a cliff,” Stratton said. “I thought I was going to be paralyzed, and as I went further I thought I was dead for sure when I saw how big it was.”
Stratton was in free-fall for 3.08 seconds.
“In the air I definitely said a prayer; it doesn't sound like it, but I did in my head,” Stratton said.
He estimates he fell more than 100 feet before crashing into the snow.
“I just slowly started to move and I was in shock,” Stratton said.
That's when Reeves, who went around the cliff, found Stratton.
“I'm not much for free-fall, for air sports: I like my feet on the ground,” Reeves said.
Devin told Matthew about what happened.
“I'm like, 'How are you not dead? How are you still alive? The thing was mammoth,” Reeves said.
“Every time I looked up I just felt sick to my stomach, knew my mom wasn't going to be too happy about that,” Stratton said.
Looking back at the video, you can see other skiers' tracks in the snow.
“They ski to the edge, stop, pop out of their skis and walk back," explains Stratton. "You can see obvious footprints going back up, so I’m just happy to be alive."
Stratton walked away without a scratch but his equipment wasn't so lucky.
“My shovel you can see bent a little bit,” he said. “My helmet has a little chip there, I think it’s a really good thing I had this on because that's one of the first things that I hit was my head.”
Stratton can't say it enough: “It's a miracle I didn't get hurt."
You can see another version of the video below: