“We are all going to make mistakes. It’s truly learning from them that makes life really sweet,” says skier, climber, and parent Roger Strong in the video embedded above.
On April 6, 2011, Strong took off on his favorite backcountry run in Snowqualmie Pass, Washington, and was picked up by an avalanche and thrown into a tree. His tibias were ripped from his femurs and his ligaments were shredded. "His knees were literally hanging by just skin," says filmmaker Fitz Cahall. "The connective tissue and bone connections were gone."
Cahall joined Strong a year after the accident as the pair returned to the tree where Strong almost died. The resulting film, Strong, chronicles how the skier's life has changed since the incident.
If you recognize Roger Strong, it's probably because he was a captain in early episodes of the Discovery show Deadliest Catch. The former reality TV star spent a considerable amount of time skiing and climbing. Rock and Ice once told the story of how he used his breaks from crab fishing to ice climb around Dutch Harbor, Alaska, and big wall climb in Yosemite.
His fame didn't stop after he left Deadliest Catch. After his traumatic double knee injury, his recovery drive was so strong that he returned to the slopes after 10 months. "The University of Washington Medical Center ended up using him in their ad campaign because it was such a success story," says Cahall. "That drive comes from this enthusiasm for the mountains. It's as deep as any athlete I've ever worked with."