Most people don’t know this about me, but I’m actually pretty cocky. I think the worst kind of cockiness is when you think you are better than you really are. That’s inviting all sorts of trouble. People that have ski’d or snowboarded with me know that I’m a decent skier. At smaller resorts like Sugar Bowl, Boreal or Mount Rose I can clear most of the black diamonds, if the conditions are right. IF the conditions are right– that’s a big if. Sometimes I think I’m better than I truly am, and I charge downhill on steep slopes, cockily thinking I can handle them all.
On Saturday that got me into big trouble, and I was lucky to return without getting seriously hurt.
Mount Rose is a nice little ski resort. They have two express lifts that go up to the peak. I started the day on the Northwest Magnum lift, warming up on some of the runs there. I remembered from the week before that there was a mogul run that I liked, I went down it at the end of the day last week, but remembered my legs were really tired at the end of the day, so it wasn’t all that fun. I decided to try to get out there early this time, with fresher legs. When I got to the run, called Gold Run, I found it was pretty icy, but I thought I could handle it. The only other person on the slope at the time was this middle aged lady. She warned me that it was pretty icy, as she slowly worked her way downwards, stopping and surveying the slope every couple of moguls.
I figured if she could do it, I shouldn’t have a problem, so I started working my way down. Just a short way into the run my skis slipped, and I lost traction. They slipped a little way down and got caught at one mogul. My boots unclipped from the bindings and I found myself sliding down the mountain without my skis.
They say when you’re in a life threatening situation time seems to slow down. That’s total crap. I wish time would’ve actually slowed down. At most my slide down the mountain lasted a minute. I couldn’t find any way to stop myself, at one point I tried to dig my boots into the top of the mogul, but it didn’t help, it just caused me to tumble a bit. Below me I could see a tree, I tried everything I could to move a little bit so that I would miss it, but I couldn’t really do anything to move out of the way, everything was happening too fast.
Miraculously I missed the tree and came to a stop in a softer patch a little while later. I had basically ridden down the mountain on my belly. Luckily my belly is more cushioned than usual nowadays, so nothing was broken. I looked up the mountain, the lady that was on the slope collected my skis and started to ski down the mountain with them. She was insanely good, slowly coming down the mountain with my skis in her right hand and her poles in her left hand. I plopped down in the snow and waited for her. When she arrived she asked me if I was ok and said she was really scared for me. She said I did the right thing, riding down feet first on my front side. Apparently she was a volunteer ski patrol but was off today.
A little while later a ski patrol member came down and asked if I was ok. I said I was ok, I just wished somebody had caught my ride on film so I could see it on youtube. He laughed and said he was glad I was ok. The lady had brought me my skis but my beanie, goggle and glasses were all still up on the slope. He said he would get them for me, but I ended up telling him I could get them on my own (there goes my ego getting me in trouble again…) He waited with my skis while I climbed up the slope on my hands and knees to retrieve my beanie and goggles. Both the beanie and goggles were easy to find because they were black, but I wasn’t able to find my glasses. I looked around for a long time but couldn’t find them, so I headed back down. The ski patrol guy said he’d go up the lift and make another pass to look for them, but the chances of finding them were slim. I thanked him and he headed down the mountain. I sat for a while to catch my breath before clipping in my skis and then slowly made my way down the mountain.
By the time I got to the bottom the adrenaline started to wear off and I could start feeling the pain. My right arm was bleeding and my belly felt really warm. They were both covered in abrasions from sliding on the ice. My left shoulder was aching– I must’ve hit the ice on my left side when my skis unbuckled. Other than that though, I was fine and able to continue skiing. I was really lucky, I didn’t sustain any major injuries. My phone was in my chest pocket, so it was broken, and my glasses were missing, but those are just annoyances. The only real damage was to my ego, but I guess that’s a good thing. I learned my lessons– ski within my limits and be careful, and check the condition for each slope before heading down. I guess I learned my lesson about cockiness too. The week before both Gid and Jim slipped on the ice and fell. I laughed at both of them. My slip and slide was way worse, so I guess this is payback.
I looked for video of me on youtube, so far nothing. I imagine it would look something like this, except on a steeper, icier slope covered with moguls.