Avalanche survivor opens new snowboard store in Vernon – Vernon Morning Star

A near-death experience on the slopes was not enough to distract Nathan Fisher from the sport he loves.

The Vernon man opened his own snowboard store, Pop Mode Board Supply, in October 2021, less than three years after being swept away by an avalanche on Silver Star Mountain.

Located on 31st Avenue, the store offers boards, bindings and boots as well as outerwear, apparel and footwear for men and women.

“Business has been great,” he said. “I think I’ve sold about 30 snowboards so far and it’s busier than I imagined, I was able to grow the store and inventory faster than I expected, and people are so excited for a new store in town. “

It’s another blessing he counts after a life-changing incident in 2019.

It was March and Fisher was snowboarding with his friend Tyler at SilverStar Mountain Resort. It was a strange day from the start – unusually hot at 17 ° C.

“There weren’t three turns that I had triggered an avalanche and I didn’t know it, and before I knew it it was taking me down the mountain at around 60 km / h,” he said. . “I don’t know the exact speed but it was fast, and I thought that was it – it was surreal.

Fisher lost a fixation and started rolling down the mountain. Halfway through the race, he hit a tree which knocked him unconscious, before a meter of heavy, wet snow invaded him.

“This tree saved my life,” he said, as it kept him from falling further and being buried at the bottom of the trail. “I came to myself and I was like a saint moly, I can’t believe I’m alive. “

Fisher had a broken jaw, collapsed lung, and dislocated femur and shoulder, among other injuries, but miraculously, there were no serious injuries to his head or spine. After his friend lifted him out of the snow, he was taken by air ambulance to Kelowna General Hospital and had jaw surgery, then to Vernon Jubilee Hospital where he stayed for a week and had had hip surgery. After six weeks of a liquid diet, shoulder surgery and months of rehabilitation, Fisher was fortunate to make a full recovery.

“I have a new appreciation for life,” he said. “I think there was a five percent chance of surviving this and even less of going out without any permanent injury, so I’m just counting my blessings every day.”

The heartbreaking experience did not affect Fisher’s love of snowboarding; he was back on the slopes the following season. But it maybe even gave him the perspective to start his own snowboarding business.

“I realized that life is short and it’s important to do what you love and make sure you’re happy, and yes, I just wanted to use my potential and start my own thing.”

Pop Mode Board Supply is located near the downtown Vernon bus station at 3105 31st Ave.

Brendan Shykora

Ski and snowboard

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