Simon was an avid skier, he would often head out to Colorado with his best friend and ski for weeks. One weekend he suggested that I come along with him and his buddy to one of the ski lodges in Wisconsin and told me that he would show me how to ski. His lesson was a quick thirty minutes, frustration started to build inside him…I knew the mountain was calling him, so I let him go and his buddy stayed beside me as I did the every so famous pizza wedge down the hill and called it a day inside the lodge.
Fast forward 5 years later…..
A man I was dating talked me into taking a day off from work and join him on the slopes of Big Bear, California. I told him that I didn’t ski but he was insistent that I join him and said he would pay for a lesson for me. That sealed the deal, plus I really needed a day away from this dreaded town.
“Hello, my name is Sven and I will be your instructor the next two hours”…Sven was an older gentleman, maybe in his 50’s, sweet and very patient. He had to be patient with someone as klutzy as myself!! Seriously, how can anyone maneuver around holding all this stuff and trek up a hill in such clunky boots!! After an hour, I managed to become an expert at the pizza wedge and graduated from the bunny hill; Sven thought I was ready to conquer a real hill and while riding up on the chair lift it only sent me into a slight panic, visions of me falling off plagued my thoughts. Finally we reached the top and once out of the chair …..I lost my balance and fell!! Sven was great, he helped me up and encouraged me all the way to the bottom. Once on flat ground we said our good byes and I met up with Ted.
I was exhausted….all I wanted to do was spend the rest of the day relaxing in the lodge sipping hot chocolate but Ted wanted to check out my skills so I told him that I would go up one more time with him…..on our way up I had a bad feeling but brushed it off as fatigue. Once on the mountain, I took a deep breath and remembered everything my instructor told me….when in doubt do the wedge!!
All of a sudden…..I was going way too fast. Panic set it….the pizza wedge wasn’t working and then I found myself going out of control. Shit, I was going to die!! Why didn’t I listen to my gut!! I’m going to die by hitting a tree like Sonny Bono, he did hit a tree right?…….Don’t panic! ……….I then hit a patch of ice and that was it, I fell hard and then felt the most excruciating pain that I have ever felt…I couldn’t move. I thought my hip was broken. Ted came up beside me and realized that I was hurt badly but it was then that I saw that he was no good in these types of situations….I had to tell him to get help. Thank God a few snowboarders came by ….one helped remove my snow skis….one went to go get help and one who I never saw took control over the whole situation,while dumbass Ted looked on.
The nameless man, removed his snow jacket and placed it under my head. He talked calmly to me and told me everything was going to be ok….later on, I named him my snow angel because I never once saw him but he calmed me down a great deal. Within ten minutes the snow patrol came and took over….the nameless man said good-bye and whispered in my ear that everything was going to be alright. Once down the mountain, I was told that they were waiting for a helicopter to take me to the nearest hospital…..next thing I heard was “Jolene, what happened?” it was Sven. He looked like he had failed me but I just told him that I should have never gone back up because I was tired. He followed beside me as I was wheeled toward the helicopter.
The ER doctor met the helicopter and asked me what happened. “I was going to fast and hit a patch of ice then fell.”…..”that’s it? honey you need to come up with a better story then that to tell your friends and family, how about you were skiing down the black diamond hill, went out of control, hit a rock and went flying”….ER doc was a jokester……but all I wanted was more pain medication!!
I found out that I fractured my pelvic bone in two places and was in a wheel chair for 2 months, then crutches for another five months………….It was certainly a humbling experience. The simplest daily actions like brushing your teeth, taking a shower and going to the bathroom was now a struggle. I certainly learned a lot from the experience….one being, never take anything for granted!!
One thing I know for sure….I will NEVER go skiing again!!!