EDITOR'S NOTE: Some people may find the photo of the injury to be disturbing. Use your own discretion.
POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) — A ski instructor trying to jump between two trees on a Wyoming mountain says he crashed and ended up with an 18-inch branch impaling his lip.
Natty Hagood, who works at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, was snowboarding with friends last week when he tried to navigate the gap between the trees. After he fell, the 29-year-old told the Idaho State Journal that at first he thought his helmet strap got pushed into his face.
But he said he soon realized it was a branch jabbing through one side of his lip and out the other.
Hagood said he thought: "I just got impaled. And then I yelled over to Pete, 'Hey, look, I got a new piercing.'"
The group notified ski patrol, and responders told Hagood that the branch would have to be braced before he could ride down the mountain.
"It was initially about a foot and half long," Hagood said. "But I braced it against my cheek and snapped it down to about 6 inches. Ski patrol was all like, 'You're crazy, man.'"
A resort spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to a phone message or email from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Hagood said he didn't have much pain until he got to the hospital and the doctor gave him shots to numb the area. They then trimmed the branch, removed it and used 15 stitches to close the wounds.
The crash left Hagood with a $1,500 hospital bill and a new nickname — "Lipstick," or "Sticky" for short. He used an online crowdfunding site to cover the hospital costs, and the effort was fully funded a few days later.
Hagood said he has to drink beer through a straw for now and he still drools a bit. But his sense of humor is intact: He jokes that the crash left him with a case of "PTS-Tree."