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CARLSBAD, Calif. – Carlsbad’s Brock Crouch has been shredding pow since he was 3 years old. 

“My snowboard instructor just told my parents that it would probably be a smart decision if they came back up and so we kind of started there and started going up every other weekend,” Crouch said.

He turned professional as a teenager, quickly growing a national profile along with his dreams of competing on the world stage. But in April 2017, his career took an unexpected turn.

On a back-country skiing trip in Canada, Crouch said he walked onto the edge of a cornice and fell more than 1,200 feet off a cliff and over some rocks. The result rendered him unconscious for nearly seven minutes. He also broke his back, ruptured his pancreas and knocked out his front teeth.

“It was definitely a huge eye-opener and kind of just realized, ‘Wow, life is so special,'” he said.

While such injuries might have turned some people away, it hasn’t for Crouch. The Red Bull athlete now even is eyeing a potential spot on Team USA for the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics.

“It’s just so special to me and after my accident, I’m so thankful I can still snowboard,” he said. “It’s crazy that I can even sit here and talk about trying to go to the Olympics. That’s just a plus you know, I think it’s just a gift.”