Snowboarder Gets Impaled With an 18" Tree Branch

Credit: Natty Hagood / GoFundMe

If you ski or snowboard, you know that at some point you’re probably going to get hurt. But one snowboard instructor recently took a hit that didn’t end in a sprain or a fracture, but a full-on facial alteration courtesy of Mother Nature.

Natty Hagood, who works at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming, was taking a few personal turns off the clock with his roommate and a woman from out of town who they were showing around the mountain — and when he tried to show off, things went awry. “I had made the first five turns and was coming back to the lift line when I saw a gap between two trees,” Hagood says in a report from the Kansas City Star. “With my experience, you can bash between trees and it’s not that big of a deal. But this time I guess I didn’t get away with it.”

No, he didn’t. His attempt to split the trees left him with an 18-inch branch drilled through his lower lip. But at first, he didn’t even realize he had a new addition to his face. “I thought maybe my chin strap got pushed up into my face, so I tried to brush it off and that’s when I felt the stick,” he says. “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.”

That’s when it clicked: “Holy crap, I just got impaled.” But instead of losing his cool, Hagood just hollered over to his roommate, “Hey look! I got a new piercing.”

The tree branch had lodged itself into Hagood’s face so suddenly that he didn’t even feel the pain that you’re feeling right now just reading about this. While he was cracking jokes, ski patrol arrived to assess the injury and decided that Hagood needed a trip to the hospital. Meanwhile, Hagood decided the branch needed a trim. “I braced it against my cheek and snapped it down to about six inches," he says. “Ski patrol was all like, ‘You’re crazy, man.’ ”

Upon his arrival to the hospital, Hagood finally felt some pain — not because of his all-natural adornment, but because of the numbing injections that were administered before the tree branch was removed from his lip. After numbing him up, medical staff cut the upper section of his lip near the exit wound, trimmed the branch down further, and made the final removal by sliding it out the same way it went in. After giving him 15 stitches, the hospital sent Hagood home with a new lip and a bill for $1,500.

For a snowboard instructor who now had to harbor expenses such as straws for beer drinking, this was too much. Hagood immediately took to GoFundMe and started a fundraiser called “Please help me pay for a new lip.” As of Tuesday morning, the page had reached its $1,500 goal, thanks to donors such as the one who pledged $100 as long as “Lipstick” (a nickname his injury has earned Hagood) gets a new haircut. For a new lip, a haircut doesn’t seem like a bad trade for Hagood.

Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time Hagood has gone viral on the Internet. Just a few weeks ago, he was caught on camera breaking up a fight between a snowboarder and a skier, because the age-old snow sports rivalry is alive and well. Here’s GoPro footage of that, which is a little less intense than those "piercing" photos, to end this story on a less gut-churning note.