We are taught that “to every season, there is a beginning and an end..” I challenge that! If you truly love something, the season simply takes on a another view. Which is the case with the ski season. There two aspects to ski season.. the actual season of course and the “pre-season”. More on this later, first a quick background..
I learned of my love for skiing at a young age. I also hurt myself pretty badly too. I broke my leg skiing at the age of 12.. a really bad break. The day was a beautiful day at Beaver Mountain up Logan Canyon. I had received ski lessons for Christmas that year and couldn’t wait to get started. I was a really good skier… so I thought. That day I had the plan to take a bunch of runs before the lessons, then have lunch (pepperoni pizza).. if I finished fast enough, I’d have time for one more run before the ‘boring’ lesson. It was that run that changed my life.
I remember going fast.. feeling the wind in my face. “Flying must be a lot like this”, I thought. I was headed for a run called the “Face”.. filled with moguls and kind of steep. As I popped back into reality, I decided I better slow down before I hit the moguls at top speed. As I started to turn my feet to control my skis to slow down, I all of sudden realized that I was going faster than I originally thought. What was wrong? I wasn’t slowing down… then it happen. I hit a bump in the snow throwing me off-balance. I felt like everything went into slow motion.. rolling, sliding, rolling.. then a sudden stop and with a loud “POP”! What just happened? I looked over my shoulder and saw my left leg turned completely behind me facing the wrong way. Then I felt the pain rush in…. this was bad. My bindings didn’t release.
My left ski was sticking into the snow with my foot point straight up in the air. The tail of my ski had pierced the snow and lodged in tight. It only came loose when someone stopped to help me and released my foot from the ski. I knew that I wouldn’t be making the ski lesson that day.
I was taken down the hill in one of those Ski Patrol toboggans. Most of it was a blur.. mainly because they had my face covered by a tarp as part of the wrap the patrol packed me in to keep me warm. Once inside the mysterious “Patrol” shed, they asked a lot of questions.. like where is your family? I was there on my own. My parents put me on the ski bus from town that morning and expected to pick me up later that night. Lucky for me, one of the patrolman on duty that day happened to by one of my neighbors. So he contacted my parents to let them know I would be taken to the hospital in a couple of hours. In the mean time, I was in a lot of pain. One of the doctors came over and explained that my leg was broken and swelling.. no kidding doc.. he also asked me if I’d like some pain medication, I of course said yes. He asked me if i was allergic to something called Demerol.. huh? He said you’ll be fine… woow.. this was great!! When I finally woke up 3 hours later, they were loading me into a van ready to meet my parents at the hospital about an hour down the road.
My Mom was in the Nursing program at the time and wanted to hear all the info from the doctors. My Dad wasn’t as excited to see the x-rays or hear the prognosis.. I think it made him a bit sick… me too.
I was admitted to the hospital and taking into special room to set my leg. I was put out completely for the procedure. After the cast was added.. all the way to my left hip.. the doctor told my parent that “Dain needs to chew his food better..” huh? Remember the pizza? Apparently I threw up all over the doctor during the casting and he saw “many pieces of pepperoni without any teeth marks..” Hey man, I had snow to ski through, I was in a hurry.
That next year was a very slow recovery.. slow and painful.
This started a learning process that I am still experiencing today. This was the first lesson I learned the hard way…
— Know how to stop before you go fast!! or what’s your exit strategy??
But we all do it. Sometimes the thrill of going fast, out -weighs that cautionary little voice that says, “awesome… uh oh, now what?”……
So here we go… The lessons learned about life, I’ve learned from skiing…
From finding balance, to facing your demons, to quieting your mind to think clearly… I will also share actual skiing techniques and lesson plans that we (ski instructors) really use.