North Face’s Karina Hollekim back on skis

We all know that action sports bears a high risk of injury or even death. But to often the thrill is just too good to leave it alone and once every now and then something doesn’t play out so smoothly. But today we’re very happy to announce that B.A.S.E jumper and free skiing legend Karina Hollekim is back on her skis three and a half years after her near death accident! Read her story and see that there is always hope…

In August 2006, during a demonstration skydive in Switzerland, Karina Hollekim’s chute failed to open. She hit the ground at over 100 km/hour. The force of impact broke her right femur in four places and splintered her left leg into 21 open fractures. She lost over three litres of blood in 45 minutes. But, she did not die.

The crash spared her spine and head, and she was told she would never walk again. It was tough to wake up everyday without the body that had let her live her dreams. But those dreams had taught her life is about challenges; that the only limits to what she could achieve were in her own head and mind. Step by step, Karina fought her battles, and slowly she began to walk again.

And now, almost three and a half years after that fateful day and over 15 painful surgeries later, Karina has hit the slopes once again. A simple run, but full of emotion and meaning. “Coming back to the slopes and to the mountains was almost too good to be true!” exclaimed Karina. “I´ve dreamt about this everyday for 3,5 years now, I´ve gone through it in my mind, how it would feel and what it would be like, but this is better than I could ever imagine. It feels unreal! I think I´m the happiest kid on the slope today, I just can´t stop smiling! And the best thing is that this is just the beginning… ”

Karina embodies the philosophy behind The North Face – to ‘never stop exploring’. This is how she lives her life. She became renowned worldwide as a courageous and skilful exponent of extreme sport. As an exceptional athlete, she inspired others. Her strength and determination to recover from near-death are perhaps even more inspirational.


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