Discovery Channel tapes ‘Impact: Stories of Survival’ at Tahoe Forest Hospital |

Discovery Channel tapes ‘Impact: Stories of Survival’ at Tahoe Forest Hospital

Josh MillerChris Shelton, director, and his cameraman, create a show for the series, "Impact: Stories of Survival." The film is based on an accident that happened six years ago involving Dan Fairchild.

Never did Dan Fairchild think he would watch the re-enactment of the skiing accident that left him paralyzed six years ago.

On April 5, 1997, Fairchild was blade running (a cross between skydiving and slalom skiing) at Squaw Valley when he fell and broke his back.

On Monday Fairchild returned to Squaw Valley with a camera crew from the Discovery Health Channel program “Impact: Stories of Survival,” which will feature the accident in an upcoming episode.

“It was kind of emotional when I saw the run,” Fairchild said of his visit to Squaw Valley earlier in the day.

After the accident, Fairchild was transported by ambulance to Tahoe Forest Hospital, according to hospital records. In the emergency room Dr. Michael Macquarrie saw that Fairchild had a serious spinal injury and arranged to have the patient transported to Valley Medical Center in San Jose to see a spine specialist.

“They made some really good decisions, with ski patrol on the mountain, and the doctor here (Macquarrie) literally saved my butt,” Fairchild said, while watching the re-enactment of his helicopter transport to Valley Medical Center – this time from a wheelchair on the ground.

Six years after his accident, Fairchild has not made a full recovery. He is paralyzed from the waist down and still suffers chronic pain, but he attributes his ability to remain active to the care he received the day of his accident.

One month after his fateful run at Squaw Valley, Fairchild was skiing again – this time on a mono sit ski, designed for paraplegics and amputees. Shortly after, he became a volunteer instructor at Bear Valley and served on the board for the motherlode chapter of Disabled Sports USA.

Since his accident, Fairchild has completed more than 100 skydives.

Now, he will have the opportunity to watch April 15, 1997, all over again on television, along with the rest of the country.

But it was watching that whole day play out in front of his eyes earlier this week that Fairchild described as “surreal.”

“I’m finding things I didn’t know before,” said Fairchild, who now lives in southern Oregon. “I didn’t know how it really went down, until now.”

Dan Fairchild will appear on “Impact: Stories of Survival” on the Discovery Health Channel sometime this spring. Check out for details.

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User