HOW DO YOU MAKE HISTORY? Well, there's doodling on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, say, or discovering a vaccine for polio. Or, you know, skiing straight off a cliff like Wile E. Coyote.
Last season, Jamie Pierre, the hucker king of Salt Lake City, Utah, took a record-setting 255-foot leap off a cliff in the Grand Targhee, Wyo., backcountry, with only a balled-up T-shirt and bath towel in his backpack for padding—and no helmet. "He actually landed on his head, says Adam Clark, a photographer and a friend of Pierre's who was the first person to reach him after touchdown.
Don't try this at home, kids, but the strategy for giant cliff jumping is to land on your back to absorb the fall. (If you land on your skis, your femurs tend to be driven into your pelvis, likely shattering both.) Pierre had underestimated his airtime and over-rotated. Thirty feet of snow afforded Pierre a fluffy landing zone, but he still sank 10 feet after impact.
"His feet weren't moving, Clark says, "but by the time I got to him, he was conscious. It took a few minutes to dig out Pierre, who skied away with nothing worse than a bloody lip. We caught up with Pierre in Alaska, on a heli-trip, and asked him what was next. "I'm not stupid, he says. "I've got no desire to try and do something like that again.