Of all the injuries that can happen to a skier, this one may be the gnarliest. It’s certainly one of the most unusual, but appearances aside, the skier involved says he is being unfairly maligned as some sort of dippy “skier bro.”
Natty Hagood, a 29-year-old ski instructor at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming, was enjoying his first run of the day with his roommate and a visitor from out of town when he tried to “bash between trees,” cut it a bit too close and ended up with an 18-inch branch entering just below his lower lip and exiting at the corner of his mouth.
“I thought maybe my chinstrap got pushed up into my face, so I tried to brush it off and that’s when I felt the stick,” he told Shelbie Harris of the Idaho State Journal of the March 1 accident. “So, I shook left to right and saw the stick moving in my peripherals. I reached out and grabbed it and wiggled it before realizing it was pretty far in there.”
As images show, it sure was.
“Holy crap, I just got impaled,” Hagood said of his dawning realization. ‘And then I yelled over to Pete [his friend], ‘Hey look I got a new piercing.’ ”
While that makes it sound as if Hagood was a “duuuuuuddde, look what happened” kind of fellow, he told The Post that there’s a lot more to what happened and to him. For one thing, he was not skiing irresponsibly at the time. It just happened.
Certified as a wilderness first responder, he immediately assessed his injuries and determined that neither his teeth nor his jaw were broken. “I’m not a knucklehead; I ski for a living. I’m serious about this. I’m trained as an EMT. I’m aware of my body. I work out, I do yoga and take care of myself. I’m not a ‘ski bro’ and that does a disservice to me. ”
That helps explain why he was able, in the moment, to snap the length of the branch down about six inches, facilitating his rescue by the ski patrol.
Rescuers secured the remaining stick to his face and transported him to a hospital, where the real pain set in. “The most painful part of the experience was the numbing shots from the hospital,” he said. “Then they cut the top-left section of my lip near the exit-wound, trimmed the back half and pulled it through.”
The wound was closed with 15 stitches, which were removed Wednesday and Hagood is now fine.
His Go Fund Me account raised more than the $1,500 he requested to cover his hospital expenses, leaving him with the question of what to do with the excess. Donating it to a charity or using it to help create a camp for kids on property his parents own in Colorado are possibilities. Or he could donate it to a political group or to a group like the ACLU. That’s where the other side of Natty (short for Nathaniel) Hagood comes in.
For the first time in his life, he has become motivated by the election. He helped organize a town hall meeting and perpetually wears a pink “pussy hat” with his ski uniform on the slopes. (He can be seen breaking up a fight on the slopes in a NSFW video.) He went so far as to buy pink felt and, using sewing skills from a Home Ec class, he borrowed a sewing machine and went to work. Now, he offers a hat to anyone who is interested, an extension of his interest and involvement with JH ACTivate, a group whose Facebook page says it “channels frustration, anxiety, and anger associated with recent political events into effective action. We connect concerned citizens with trusted resources that can help clarify confusion and offer strategies for political engagement. Rather than lash out reactively or withdraw defeatedly, JH ACTivate believes the best remedy for frustration is informed action.”
And if being labeled as a ski bro helps increase political consciousness, Hagood, who has gotten some negative reaction because he’s wearing a pussy hat in one of the immediate post-accident photos, will make peace with his fame.
“[The pussy hat giveaways] are about ending oppression of women, minorities, immigrants,” he told The Post. “What’s going on in politics is way bigger than what happened while I was skiing, but if I can take this stick-to-my-face thing and use it, that’s a far bigger thing.”