Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Was it Worth It?

This is a post ski season shot. I was skiing a run called "Ski Team"; it was a steep mogul run. A black diamond run. I don't remember the fall. I do know when I regained consciousness the other skiers were digging snow out of my throat. I must have caught an edge as I shoved off the top of that mountain. It was a yard sale. Ski's and poles were not even in the same vicinity on the slope. My goggles remained on my face. They were packed with snow and I couldn't see. My right knee was blown. Six months of rehab and recouping to be ready to hit the slopes the next season. My ortho surgeon asked me "Is it really worth it?"
After this fall my knee was unstable and swollen. I had torn the ACL and the MCL. If you sit around the lodge you can hear the skiers talking these initials.
This happened in the spring. Easter ski egg hunt event was approaching. I wrapped that knee with an ace wrap and skied one last time for the egg hunt. I told the surgeon to get it ready before the next season. Screws, bolts and staples have held it together. Was it worth it?
I guess I could have had a very sedate lifestyle but I'm not one that can tolerate boredom. I had to be moving. I skied and loved every minute of it. I didn't "off trail ski" and when I hear a report of a skier being buried in an avalanche I know they were off trail skiing and that's skiing at your own risk.
The slopes are blown before the season starts. Dynamite charges are set off to fall the loose snow. That is not done for off trail.
I didn't do extreme skiing. No telemark, just alpine. I did do a little snow shoeing and cross country but my favorite was the downhill.
I've skied from Pennsylvania to Arizona. If I was close to a slope and it was winter, I skied it. My car broke down on a trip in the summer passing through Flagstaff, Arizona. I left that car and continued on to Pa. but before I left I told the mechanic not to call me till there was loads of snow on the ground. When he called Snow Bowl had just got 22 inches of new snow. I flew from Pa. to Phoenix and caught a commuter to Flagstaff. The weather was killer. They had a show of hands at the airport in Phoenix on how many would get on that flight. Of course my hand shot into the air. We took off and the weather was so bad we thought we might have to land on the upper rim of the Grand Canyon and be bussed back to Flagstaff. The pilot kept circling that small airport in Flagstaff; finally an opening and we went in. We were all holding hands on that flight when we landed. The things I've done to go skiing. Driving through blizzards in Wyoming and Colorado; chaining up to get to the slope and hoping I could get back which I didn't worry about until it was time to head home.
Was it worth it?
You can point those boards straight down the slope for a thrill or do some traversing for a slower ride. All your choice. I skied through the week with abandon but weekend skiing was purely to watch the tourists and be entertained. When skiing the weekend you had to dodge em but the week days were mostly seasoned skiers.
I remember my first few times. I'm standing in the ski lift line after being on my butt most of the run and I hear and see someone in front of me looking back and screaming "SINGLE"?
I had no clue. He was looking at me and I'm thinking how brazen.
Does it show? I have to laugh at this now. I didn't know at the time that the lift operators tried to fill the lift seat with two skiers and if a single skier came to the lift they would look down the line and scream out "SINGLE"? At that point you left your place in the line and moved to the lift chair with the other "single" skier that was ready to board.
I skied Park City West where the Olympic skiers are trained. They were training while I was there for two days. I decided to hang back and follow them. Not a good decision. By the time I realized they were headed for a double black diamond there was no turning back. After a long lift ride, we skied down a narrow gradual path to the run. The path was not a run. It was a path to get across the mountain to the run. There wasn't another run that could be taken. Once you headed down this path you were committed. Wish I had known that.
I watched as each skier would go forward and then disappear. I knew this was not a good sign. After they had all launched I slipped to the run and saw vertical. Now I'm thinking following the ski team was NOT a wise move.You shoved your tips forward then leaned out and dropped! Let's say it wasn't the most graceful run I've done and I don't do double black diamonds then or ever again.
I waited at the bottom of that run for those Olympic skiers to do it again so I could just watch this time. It wasn't easy on some of them either. The tumbles were magnificent when they happened!
Was it worth it?
Skiing is one of those sports that attract like minded who love the sport. I never met a jerk on the slopes. We were there for one thing and that was the snow and the ride. An instant bond with other skiers just because you are there. Apres ski didn't include getting drunk on your butt. It was early to bed and early to the slope if you were a serious skier. I'm not talking the once a year vacationer. I never wanted to be one of those and when I had to leave the Rockies during the 80's oil industry slump, I have not been on the boards since. I don't know if my knee would have lasted this long if I had stayed and skied.
Was it worth it?
YES! I can't imagine never having enjoyed all the snow and the people I met. Yes, it was worth it!

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