Doctors Tell Backcountry Skier He’ll Never Run Again, But Months Later He Leaves Wheelchair

by Lindsey Smith
Lindsey is from Florida and has worked in online and print media. Her happy place is Michaels craft store.

Backcountry skier Josh Barilar’s passion for the sport led him to move to Colorado in 2007 for inbound skiing.

As an expert skier, he thought it was going to be just another great day on the Colorado slopes when he decided to go outside of the resort to ski other areas with a few of his buddies.

That’s when disaster struck on the 14,265-foot-high Mount Fletcher.

“As I took the turn across that loose snow and it swept both my feet, basically like someone took a rug out from under you,” Josh says. “Once that happened I had no way of stopping myself. As I got swept, I went straight into the wall.

There was no choice.” It took rescuers five hours to get to Josh and load him into a helicopter.

Along with breaking one finger, Josh’s knee joint was severely damaged, and the head of his femur was destroyed.

Doctors told him even with surgery, he’d never be able to run or ski again after the accident.

Motivated by the very mountains that caused his injury, Josh was intent on proving the doctors wrong. He spent months in therapy healing his legs. His determination helped him leave the wheelchair and crutches behind and get back on the slopes!

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