January 7, 2009

SPLAT! Look Before You Leap

Yesterday was a bit of a powder day. Nothing huge but one of the better days so far this year. Everything was going great. Max and I were getting some good runs in Dreamcatcher (one of my favorite spots) at The Canyons. But sometimes you get so caught up chasing that floating feeling that you feel invincible. (Note: you’re not.)

Max and I scoped out a long, steep, straight shot of fresh pow between pine trees. We were below it at that point but we made a plan to come back to it. Sure enough on the next run I found myself staring down the chute. Without hesitation I charged down the middle. Turn after turn, I was rewarded by the splash of light Utah powder in my face. As I split through the pines, my vision obscured by snow and flat light I suddenly realized the ground beneath me had given way and I was in a brief, but un-planned free-fall. I had skied off a 10-12 foot ledge, landing square and abrubtly on a flat cat-track. For the un-initiated, that’s kinda like being hit by a truck. My body compressed into the ground, my face smacked against my knees and I heard a series of cracks. As it turns out, most of those were benign helmet clicks but I’m sure at least some of them were from my spine.

I stood up, unsure what had just happened. I turned around to check out my track and piece together the sequence of events. I then stuck my fingers in my mouth to make sure all my teeth were in tact. My head felt dizzy, but not nauseous as I ran through a check list before deciding I did not have a concussion. I knew I had at least torn some muscles in the back of my neck. My back, still sore from a miniature version of a similar event last week is surely due for a follow-up visit to Healing Hands Chiropractic in Park City. But overall, I got pretty lucky.

The bottom line is that a few inches of powder will make people do stupid things. This is certainly not the first time I’ve gotten caught up in the moment and allowed feet to do the thinking. But it’s a healthy reminder not to get too carried away. Good luck folks. Stay safe out there.

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