Most people think of skydiving as dangerous because of the distance divers go from the airplane to the ground. They depend on their parachutes to slow them down so they don’t die on impact. Therefore, the main worry is the parachute.
However, in 2013, Andy Wirth, CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, discovered that landing on clear ground is also important. While diving with friends, he hand to land in a vineyard instead of open ground. While manuevering, a steel pole holding up grape vines ripped off Wirth’s arm.
Thanks to prior experience handling traumatic injuries when he was a ranger, Wirth knew what to do. Andy Wirth used his fist to close his brachial artery shut to reduce the loss of blood. Then he did his best to relax, just breathing to reduce the sympoms of shock. Fortunately for him, he was found in fifteen minutes, put in an ambulance and then a helicopter to fly him to a hospital, where he spent three months.
The surgeons put his arm back on, but that was just the beginning of his journey to heal. He had to slowly get back to running, to relearn how to swim and ride a bike before he could return to competing in triathlons. He met a team of Navy Seals doing winter combat training in Olympic Valley, and they inspired him.
Squaw Valley Ski Resort is one of the largest and the most iconic ski resort in Olympic Valley California according to a Facebook page. It hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics. It’s located west of Lake Tahoe. Andy Wirth’s company owns both Squaw Valley Ski Resort and the nearby Alpine Meadows resort – https://www.crowdrise.com/wwsupport.
KCRW reported that Prior to Andy Wirth skydiving accident, he was an experienced athlete who has entered triathlons. The Wall Street Journal even published an article about his training and workouts. In 2014 Disabled Sports USA called him the Citizen of the Year.