Sadly, I must report a short pause in this year’s ski season.
Let me tell you my latest real-life experience.
As I think I may have mentioned previously, if you are a resident of New Hampshire and are older than dirt, you can ski for free at Cannon Mountain during the week. That, my friends, is a sweet deal! And Cannon is a terrific mountain.
I have now been skiing twice. The weather conditions for my first ski day last week was interesting. The good news is the snow conditions were ideal. The bad news is you couldn’t see squat. There was a low-lying cloud that just hung over the mountain, and visibility on some parts of the mountain was pretty close to zero. BUT, the snow was great!
Yesterday, I went up there again for my second day of skiing, and this time it was blue skies, calm breeze, and nice conditions. Pretty sweet, right? I thought so too.
I have embraced the fact that I am not 25 years old anymore. Shocker. I made a pact with myself that I would take a nice leisurely day on the slopes and not try to prove anything.
That approach sounds great on the chairlift. It’s when you have made your first turn that all caution gets thrown to the wind. It’s kind of like war: strategy lasts only until the first moment of contact with the enemy.
I skied a number of runs and got to a point where I said to myself, OK, one more run and then I was going in. I decided on a slope I had not taken before, which was no big deal, but it was a little more in the shade than the other runs I had been on.
One thing leads to another, and the next thing I know I am chortling down the mountain, am on a particularly steep part, and catch an edge on a bit of ice, and the next thing I know I am going ass over teakettle, land on my side (I immediately know something is wrong) and slide what seemed like another 50 yards.
Two skiers came up to me almost immediately, and they say, kind of incredulously, “Are you OK?” Now ordinarily, I would have sloughed this off and said, oh yeah, sure, I meant to do that. This time, I said, “I don’t know.”
They try to help me stand up, at which point I know I am done – I could not possibly stand on my own. As you might guess, and for the first time in my 60 years of skiing, the Ski Patrol is being called out on my behalf.
Do you ski? Have you ever seen someone come down the mountain in the Sled of Shame, the Torture Toboggan, the Ride of Remorse? I have. And everyone I have ever seen covers their face and pretends it isn’t them. If you were at Cannon yesterday and saw me coming down on the toboggan, that wasn’t me. Just saying.
Let me tell you about the toboggan. It is metal. It sits in the snow all day long. Yes, it is cold. Maybe I got the express version (like flying in coach on a plane), but there was no warming blanket, no cushion, no nada. Me… and metal.
The ski patrol arrives (they were REALLY nice!), check me out, and decide to have me slither into the toboggan, on a steep slope. I am 66 years old, have jammed my thumb in the fall, my left rotator cuff is practically disintegrated, and my right leg is virtually useless (and it hurts like a mother). I don’t do slither well. BUT I manage to get into the toboggan.
I am told to put on my goggles (maybe this is the shame part?), but it is explained to me there may be some snow kicked up by the ski patrol towing the toboggan. I am good wearing the goggles for either reason.
Now, the ride down the mountain. I am thinking, thank goodness the ski patrol showed up, have me in a toboggan, and now I am safe – on the road to recovery. Not so fast, dog breath!
As I mentioned, I am laying on a sheet of metal that has been laying in the snow all day, and we start out. Sure enough, snow is being kicked up. But that is not my worry. We are going fast! There is one ski patroller and she is in front of me. Me? I’m thinking we’ve got all day to get off the mountain. She’s thinking, I wonder how fast we can get off the mountain.
I mean, it wasn’t like I had had a heart attack or was bleeding profusely, and I don’t think this was a time trial. But I am holding on to the sled like I might have a heart attack, hanging on as best I could with a sprained thumb, bad shoulder, and obviously wounded leg. Other than that, pretty sweet.
I know ski patrol get lots of training and have lots of experience. But when you are sliding down the mountain on a sheet of metal, low to the ground, making a huge grating sound (you know, metal scraping on anything), at what seemed like warp speed, it is daunting. Let’s face it – I am not a good passenger to begin with, so the ski patrol never had a chance.
But they get me into the clinic, check me out and surmise, yup, you’re going to need a doctor. I have driven up alone, can’t drive, and, shame of shame, now have to call my bride for a ride. She dutifully drives up to get me and off we go to the hospital.
Keep in mind I am a train wreck. My leg is KILLING me, I’ve got a bag of snow on my thumb, my pride has been shattered, and it is a 2-hour ride to the hospital. Karen is a nurse, so she already knows what is wrong with me. The physical part, not the mental part. Sometimes I wish she was an accountant or a nuclear physicist. But more often than not, her medical knowledge is a contributor to my longevity.
So after x-rays and a Catscan, it turns out I broke a couple of hip/pelvic bones (you’ll have to ask Karen which ones). This is not something that receives surgery – kind of like broken ribs. For the next month or six weeks, I will be in slow recovery mode, hobbling around on crutches and feeling sore and needy. I suspect Karen is doubling up on my meds to keep me quiet, because I have been kind of a pain in the ass, but after this many years together I have probably done worse.
So the 2018/2019 ski season has been put on hold for now. For the next month or two, I have nothing but time to write annoying posts, probably about nothing. See you soon.