As told to Madison Kahn
Money Comment: “He didn’t even use the avalung. Way to go Black Diamond.”
Opportunist: Adam Chamberlain, 38, vice president of marketing for Black Diamond, Salt Lake City
In the spring of 2008, a backcountry skier approached us with footage of one of our products in action. It started with a head-cam shot of a guy skiing epic powder in Alaska. Then the snow fractured beneath his skis. He was buried in the avalanche for almost five minutes before his friends rescued him. We’d never seen an avalanche video like it, and one of the reasons he survived was that he was wearing one of our backcountry safety devices. We paid a grand for the video, branded it, and posted it to Black Diamond’s website, where it went viral. A year later, people started posting comments disputing whether the avalung saved his life. He was wearing one. I think people just found it offensive that we had taken an organic gear testimonial and used it for marketing purposes.