Pockets of Blue

musings of my mind

Month: February 2008

A Day In the Life

Edit: updated to work in the Devil’s browser (commonly known as Internet Explorer)

I went touring (backcountry skiing) with a buddy a couple weeks ago and he took some interesting photos of one of my descents. Not content to just let them sit on a server somewhere, I moved them over to my site (and captioned them appropriately). Enjoy!

'It's Go time! Whhoooo yeah!'

Snap, Crackle, Pop, Sharp Painies!

On Wednesday night my (miraculous) streak of no major injuries came to an end. I was skiing up at Brighton as I do every week but was having an especially good night, powering through the moguls and stomping 180s and boxes with ease. Perhaps this put me in an elevated state of perceived immortality, who knows, but a few largish jumps in the uppermost terrain park crushed this state of mind like molars on Rice Krispies.

I have never landed a 360 before; indeed, it was one of my goals for the ski season. These jumps seemed like a great opportunity to practice, so I did. My main issue with 360s is the terrifying feeling of careening through the air, blind if just for a second as you rotate around. On the first attempt I lost my momentum about halfway through and landed awkwardly on one ski at about 270°. The other ski popped and I thought, well, that wasn’t so bad, I just need more speed to rotate that last 90. So the next time I went I still didn’t have enough momentum and instead landed a solid 180 at high speed, my ballsiest successful spin yet. It felt good, so I reassured myself that I wasn’t going to wuss out the next time and just go for it. So I came down, skiied over the first roller and set myself up for the spin on the next roller (a jump without much of a lip, these just cut sharply down on the other side with the landing steep and much below the lip). However I started to spin a split-second too early and caught my right edge on the top of the lip. Since I had so much speed it jutted me sideways and I went careening through the air, Superman-style but sideways. I can’t remember exactly what was going through my head at this time but I feel like I was still pretty relaxed somehow. I distinctly remember landing on an outstretched arm way down at the bottom of the landing, at least eight feet below the jump’s lip. My outstretched arm, shoulder and head (with helmet) impacted on the icy landing and I got the ol’ white flash for a split second on contact. I immediately popped back up (somehow) and literally threw my skis out of the way of the landing, furiously. What the HELL was that, Alec? was the gist of what was going through my head. At this point nothing seemed wrong (I was still in shock I guess). I put my skis back on and continued down the hill.

Various thoughts flashed through my head as I skiied to the bottom on gentle slopes, mostly revolving around not being able to ski or climb again for a long time, but also on the pain associated with a broken bone fragment poking up into your shoulder. Having never broken anything before, my thought process went something like this:

  1. I hate to waste the rest of this run, maybe I’ll traverse and hit that sweet box over there!
  2. On second thought, this kinda hurts, I should probably head straight down to the medical office…
  3. Yeah that definitely hurts, I think I might have broken something…
  4. Shit, I don’t think I’ll be skiing for a little while…
  5. Wow, that really hurts, is that my collarbone I can feel sticking up out of there? Uh-oh…
  6. Well, so much for that climbing trip down to the desert this weekend…

Yes, it entered my mind to hit a box or two immediately after snapping my clavicle in two…my body’s natural defense mechanism turned that idea around pretty quickly…

I popped off my skis at the bottom, wandering around the medical office until an elderly woman greeted me with an “uh oh, looks like you’re carrying your arm there.” I replied sheepishly, “Yeah I think I broke my collarbone” while holding my right arm as if it were about to fall off.

The next few minutes involved me sitting in a chair answering questions while the room turned a milky, spinning white. “Uhh I’m getting a bit lightheaded,” I uttered before finding myself on a hospital bed concentrating on my breathing. I never fainted but came as close as I ever have. During this time I called a friend and he graciously dropped everything (probably a plastic Rock Band guitar) to come with a friend and pick up myself and my car. (Man, I owe you guys. Cam and Chris, thanks so much again.)

The rest of the night wasn’t all that interesting, I went to the ER and they took X-rays and referred me to an Orthopedic Surgeon. More on this later, I don’t want to needlessly freak anyone out with speculation when my appointment isn’t til Monday afternoon. And that’s that for now, there’s a lot more to say but typing with one hand is agonizingly slow.

Stay away from the Rice Krispies, kids…

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