Is it really March already? What’s that? A week from tomorrow is April??? Ohhhh man…
I FINALLY went out to the snow about a week and a half ago for the FIRST time this season. Shameful I know. But still just as invigorating as ever. I’ve been skiing since I was two years old and it’s been a winter tradition ever since. Plus I’m Norwegian, so I don’t really have a choice.
I’m going to go again. This Friday I think. My sister is home for spring break, maybe I’ll drag her along. But this time I’ve got another thing to consider: A HELMET. After the Natasha Richardson incident this last week, well, I started thinking about all the head injuries in my life. Being 6’4″, I’ve bumped my noggin on enough low door frames, ceilings, lamps and shelves to last a lifetime. I might as well get a ski helmet now while I can still make the conscious choice to do so. I’ve had a few concussions in my life, one of which occurred on the slopes when I was in high school:
I was at Boreal with my dad and sister, just for the day. (Naturally. Who would go to Boreal for more than a day??? pfshh … if I’m stayin the night I’m goin to Heavenly or Squaw, baby!) But Boreal is nice and close for a quick spontaneous day trip. Anyway, while my dad is a super expert skiier, my sister, at the time, wasn’t so much, so I decided to ditch the fam and venture out on my own. I came across the Olympic run, (well, I remember it being called Olympic. At this writing, Boreal has no run called Olympic, maybe it wasn’t even at Boreal. I knocked myself out! Who knows … Maybe I just fell off my bed at home or something) … Anyway, this is what I remember:
This run had a series of big-time jumps. Big 10-feet high ramps, one after the other. I didn’t go down them very fast, I just got maybe 3 or 4 feet of air on my skis. (I was a carver, not a jumper.) Anyway, I went down the same run 3 times and as I took the chairlift back up I thought “Okay, ONE more time then I’ll go find dad and sis.” I went down a couple jumps at the top of the run and as I was making a right turn I saw a MUCH smaller jump (with some trees not too far ahead of it) and thought “Hey, that’s not so big, I’m gonna SPEED UP!” Blackout.
That’s the LAST thing I remember thinking: I’m gonna speed up. Haha, wow! That’d be a great quote on my tombstone.
Next thing I know I’m down at the bottom of the mountain by the lodge. My skis are placed neatly next to me, my boots are undone, my hat, goggles and gloves are all by my side, and I’m sitting on the ground with my arms resting on my bent knees. Just sitting. Staring incoherently at all the people walking by, TOTALLY out of it. Then, I recognized someone from my high school. That familiarity jolted my consciousness back to reality. No sooner did I realize “I am sitting on the ground” than my dad and sister come rushing up to me, wondering where I’ve been. All I could say to them was “Where’s my hat???” about 3 or 7 times. I was gone.
I had an abrasion on the bottom of my right temple; my right hip was sore; and my ski pole was bent at a 30 degree angle right underneath the handle (the thickest, strongest part of the pole). Dad and sis walked me to first aid and before I knew it I was in the back of an ambulance on my way to the hospital. (Though by then I had come to my senses and kept apologizing to the EMTs for making them go out of their way for my dumbass.)
I still don’t know how I got down that mountain. Knowing me, if some passer-by said “Hey man, need some help?” I’d respond in a defeated, raspy voice: “No, thanks!” ::cough, cough:: “I’m cool!” I swear, if I was wrestling with two wild crocodiles and Paul Hogan came to my rescue in a boat with a harpoon, but before using it asks: “Want me to flog those buggers?” in his powerful Aussie accent, I’d still say “Nope! I got it, Paul!” ::croc bites off my arm:: “Don’t go to any trouble just for little ol’ me!” ::I die, and Paul skiffs away:: Stubborn, but true.
So to reiterate: I knocked myself out and somehow managed to get all the way down the hill completely and utterly dazed and confused with no recollection of exactly what happened. Yeah … when I go skiing this Friday, I think I’m going to take my cranium into consideration and buy myself a helmet. I’m sure my brain would appreciate it.