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Ani Haas attacked by bear in Montana Hot

Ani Haas December 23Former U.S. Ski Team member Ani Haas says she was lucky to escape a close-call with a black bear, near her home in Missoula, Mont. on Friday, July 29th.

Haas, a 24-year-old freestyle skier told NBC's "Today"  she was on a trail near her home when she saw some cubs run up a tree. The mother bear then charged at her.

Haas’ first instinct was to run, but the bear caught up with her and clawed her chest and left arm, Haas said as she pointed to the bandages on her left arm. So Haas tried another approach - she stood her ground and took the bear head-on. "I realized running from wild animals is the worst thing you can do," she said. So she made herself look as big as possible and confronted the angry bear, a tactic often recommended when confronting a black bear. 

She told Ann Curry on “Today” that she punched the bear on the head, threw a rock and started backing up slowly. The bear eventually left her alone and went back to her cubs, allowing Haas the time to escape back to her car.

For her next run, Haas joked that she is planning on bringing an industrial-sized can of bear spray, a humorous gift she received from her father.

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