Many people are surprised by the fact that bears are not true hibernators, in that they are not asleep all winter long. They don't need to eat or drink but they can be woken up inside their den. They even get up and move around on occasion.
This is exactly what happened when three skiers happened upon a brown bear den near Haines, Alaska on Saturday, February 6th. The bear exited the den and attacked 38-year old Bart Pieciul, causing injury to his face and hands. The bear then left the injured man as he rolled down the hill from the attack.
The other two skiers were able to assist the injured man and call for help. He was helicoptered out of the area and transported to a hospital in Juneau where he was treated for his injuries and released a few days later.
Always be bear aware when hiking or skiing in the Alaskan wilderness, even in the wintertime when bears are expected to be hibernating!
Photo: U.S. Coast Guard, the skier is being airlifted out of the area after his attack