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After Accident, Backcountry Skier Lives Every Day Like It's His Last

An avid and expert backcountry skier and explorer, Josh Barilar's passion brought him to Colorado in 2007. His life revolved around backcountry skiing, but one day his life changed drastically.


One beautiful white powder day, Josh was skiing with two friends (one being world record holder for most vertical feet in a year in backcountry skiing, Aaron Rice), when the unthinkable happened. Josh lost control in the snow on Fletcher Mountain, a 14,000' high mountain summit in the Tenmile Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America, 20 miles from Breckenridge, Colorado. He hit a stone wall breaking his femur and damaging the cartilage in his knee.

He was wedged between the snow and rock when his friends found him and it took the search and rescue team 5 hours to find him and airlift him to the nearest hospital. He was told he may never run or backcountry ski again. But this was a diagnosis that he would not accept. "I don't think I've met anyone who likes skiing more than Josh. I think skiing is more important than breathing for him," explained his friend.

How did Josh overcome this adversity?

He stayed positive and focused on the things that motivated him. "You have to think as positive and present as possible... Go one step at a time because things can change..."

What exactly motivated him to get better?

"Being in the mountains is a big motivation to wake up every day, but also just being grateful you're still alive."

Hopefully, we can all learn something from Josh's story of adversity, his motivation, and perseverance to overcome it and do the thing he loves most again.

This HooplaHa original video was produced by Lucia Nazzaro, shot by Alex Richard, and edited by Kellie Sieban. To see more good news, visit our YouTube channel and Facebook page.

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