You will often hear the assessment that people tend to get hurt on the last ski run of the day.
I have a different take on that oft-repeated assumption, but more on that in a moment.
Yes, I was in fact injured on the last ski run of the day, yesterday.
Sierra-at-Tahoe was spectacular with a coating of fresh powder under mostly blue skies. I WAS enjoying a wonderful mid-week ski day, covering 17,000’ of vertical. As you can see from this picture, many of the runs were totally absent of typical weekend or holiday crowds.
Given the crowded parking lot, I was really not sure where everybody was skiing and boarding, just until I walked into the resort pub.
So, there I was, on what was my intended last run of the day, and I stopped on the edge of a virtually deserted run.
Then, out of the blue, or more accurately, out of the green—as in, out of the woods—came a…and here I want to be careful not to stereotype or indict an entire class of outdoor enthusiasts—some of whom I’m sure aren’t whacked-out on Maui Wowie—S N O W B O A R D E R—who quite literally, ran right into and over the top of me.
If it wasn’t for my superior athletic conditioning…and an empty flask of 100-proof Rumple Mintz, and that beer I had with lunch, I might have ended up like this:
The irony was that the beer I enjoyed with my slaw-slathered pulled pork sandwich was a Rogue Dead Guy ale. If that was not a premonition of coming events, I’m not sure what was.
Well, there was this earlier incident in the day.
On one of my earlier runs, I was coming down the hill in no great hurry and a, yes, snowboarder came flying by me, passing within mere inches. I happened to find the young gentleman at the base of the run, and made this friendly comment:
“If that was you who just flew by me within an inch, or two, I have a request;
If you are going to come up behind me that fast again, please make sure to wear a condom.”
Yes, I really said that.
Back to my harrowing experience, there I was flat on the ground trying to figure out how many bones were broken, while the young man looked down and inquired,
“Do you want me to call ski patrol, DUDE?”
Well, male ego being what it is prevented me from admitting that I just might be experiencing massive internal bleeding and suffering a serious concussion—or at the very least, a bit of bruised ribs—with some help from my assailant, I managed to stand up.
I then made it back down the hill to my car. I did notice during the three-hour drive home, my right side was getting more and more sore, in addition to a stiff neck, and even my jaw hurt.
If you are wondering, yes, I do wear a helmet while skiing, ironically, to protect myself from other skiers…and crazed snowboarders, as once at Mt. Rose ski area, near Reno, I was similarly standing along the woods on the edge of a ski run, when a snowboarder came flying out of the forest, off a bank that was exactly at the height of my head, and missed my skull by centimeters.
I immediately skied to the resort sport shop and purchased a helmet.
If you think it is only me that seems to get in near or actual accidents while standing perfectly still on a ski slope, it even happened to our soon-to-be ex-governator a few years ago in Idaho, when he reportedly was “standing on the mountain and simply fell over,” and severely broke his leg.
So, I started out by repeating the cliché that people always seem to get hurt on the last ski run of the day.
My comeback is that of course they get hurt on the last run of the day. Once they get hurt, it becomes, de facto, the last run of the day.
Think about it. Even if it was the FIRST run of the day, if you get hurt with any significant amount of uncontrollable bleeding and multiple compound fractures, with broken bones sticking through your ski pants, of course it is the last run of the day.
The last thing I will mention is the parting comment of the marauding mauler who plowed over me and pounded me into the snow, where he said,
“Sorry man, bad timing.”
That, my friend, may be the greatest understatement of all time.