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Carnage and Destruction!

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

I hope the thread title got everyone's attention. 

 

We all know that falling or crashing is in integral part of the skiing experience. For some, its a regular occurrence, with falls happening many times during a run. For others, it is a rare thing, only happening a few times in an entire season. I have a theory about falling while skiing though. Every skier has what I like to call a "carnage quota" every season. For those lower level skiers who fall often, they make tiny steps toward their carnage quota with every fall. It's just a little stumble or a little tumble. Sit down on your hip, maybe slide a foot or two, and repeat. Bit by bit, little fall by little fall, they make their carnage quota for the season. 

 

More proficient skiers, however, don't fall often. But we still have our carnage quota to meet. That means that when we DO fall, the fall is massive. It's spectacular. It is something that belongs in a Warren Miller film. Skis are flying, arms and legs are flailing, there's tomahawking and clouds of snow. So my question to everyone is, what's the biggest crash YOU have had? Do you remember it, or did someone have to tell you about it? 

 

I've got two. First one, I'm taking a warm up run on my way to work one morning, and I decide to duck into a short patch of woods to scout it for my class. I know, don't go alone... my first mistake. I come to the top of an icefall, which is about 12-15 feet high, and has a couple turns you make on your way down it. Done it tons of times, no problem. So I make the first 3ish foot drop, and hit the landing. I go to turn my skis, and they catch on a little nub of a branch that's poking an inch or so out of the snow. My skis stop, my body keeps going. I pitch over, high side, and go head first down the rest of the icefall. The bottom of the fall, I know there's a cluster of trees, and this is going to be a serious ouch moment. So i curl my body up, protect the head, and get myself going butt first. And then.. BAM. My butt runs squarely into a 2 inch wide stump, and all my energy gets absorbed. I stop, and lay there like a turtle for about 30 seconds, and then pull myself up. Dear lord, my butt is sore. I manage to work the day, but when I get home, I check the mirror, and my entire butt cheek is black and blue. Ouch. 

 

Second, one of my students' moms had been talking about taking a certain woods run that she had never done, but I take the kids on all the time (Kitchen Wall at Stowe). So she sees us at the top of the gondi, and I say we're going to do the Wall if she wants to tag along. She says sure. So now I have to show this parent I really know my stuff (because tips). We go out on the traverse, and drop into our customary run. I decide to take the entry hotter than I usually do, but nothing crazy. I come around a big rock, and think "woah, this is a little fast, speed check time!" I go to do a little speed check... on the one patch of ice there is. My skis go out, and I'm suddenly on my hip going downhill. I go ski bases first into a very nice, very big birch, and just feel my left lower leg saying to me "oh no you don't!" So now I'm laying there thinking I'm in trouble... and my students start to zip past me! I still don't have my breath back to be like "Hey stop!" And of course, the mom comes around the corner and finds me in the fetal position... i guess sympathy gets tips too, right? I managed to crawl my way back to my feet, and skied out the rest of the afternoon, but my left shin/calf was sore for the next month. And I had to live with the embarrassment of this mom asking me every time I saw her if my leg was okay. Oops. 

post #2 of 28
I don't fall often. However, I did in March 2007. Slammed into a tree. It was not good. Story has been told plenty. Been trying not to repeat that experience ever since. If there is such a thing as a carnage quotient, mine is across decades not seasons, and I'm not planning to ski another 30 years, so I think I'm fine.
post #3 of 28

I have a big crash about once per year.  Two I remember very well, one resulted in injury, the other was actually fun.

 

Injury first; I was following a run-out to the bottom of the chair, going fast, nobody around.  I looked behind me to see how far away my partner was and in doing so I veered to the left a bit.  This was during a spring day and melting had been going on for the last week or so.  A little creek bed had insinuated itself into the edge of the groomed run-out on the left side.  My ski tips entered the dip at mach speed, but they didn't exit it in the same direction.  I was slammed down on my front so fast I couldn't react.  My skis flexed, released, and shot like an arrow into the air.  I was laying there on the snow and I knew that the skis had not hit the ground yet.  It seemed like 10 seconds before I heard them hit the run near me.  Luckily I wasn't impaled by falling skis, but I did tear my right rotator cuff.

 

Fun next; I was skiing with my young son on blue groomers on a big Mt. Baker powder day with high winds, dumping snow, and flat light.   I was dropping off the groomer from time to time to get a few powder turns here and there and then return to the run where my son was.  He could always see me.  On one of these mini excursions I got to  the bottom of the short hill and the wind had created a lip that was invisible in the storm.  I skied directly into it.  My skis stopped, but I didn't.  I did a complete somersault and landed sitting in the snow up to my armpits like I was in an armchair; total comfort.  My son was worried that I had been hurt, but I was laughing so hard I couldn't reassure him for a while.  If I could do one of these on purpose, I would do it daily.

post #4 of 28

Hmm.    Not sure I'm allowed to play here, as my skills don't really add up to "proficient," but what the heck...

 

Does it count if the worst accident you've ever had in ski gear (including boots and helmet) wasn't while skiing?

 

On skis, my carnage quotient is pretty low: I fall a couple of times per season, and in about 10 years, I've never done anything worse than tweak my knee, and that healed up in a few days. 

 

With my skis over my shoulder, boots on my feet, helmet on my head, I hit a patch of ice on a sidewalk on the way to the lodge, flipped over backwards, and landed on the back of my head.  Don't remember sitting back up, couldn't tell you how my helmet ended up sitting on the sidewalk next to me (though I'm pretty sure it was on my head when I hit the sidewalk), but oh man did my head hurt.  That was 18 months ago to the day, and things still aren't completely back to where they were. 

 

Skiing may be a little risky, but sidewalks are dangerous.

post #5 of 28

I skied Aspen for 10 days in a row last Feb.  The first 4 it snowed every day and added up to 44" in town and more up on top.  Towards the end of my stay we had a few warm afternoons and form mornings.  (this was mostly during last years Gathering)  On my last day I told myself to just take slow and easy.  Don't get hurt old man, I told myself.  Well I was skiing with a group of Epicski Bears and we skied a fun run called AMF at Snowmass.  It was somewhat steep and I was sticking with my plan, taking it slow and easy, until I got to the last pitch where there were piles of heavy crud.  I thought, OK, lets just get aggressive and charge through this bit.  Buried my tip in a pile of crap and went "over the bars" in biking terms and screwed up my shoulder.  Could barely lift it the next day.  It seemed to heal fairly quickly though until I fell mountain biking in March and it has  been x-rays, anti inflammatorys and PT ever since.  Done with all that now, but it will be several months before my shoulder gets back to normal.  I think there may even be a pic of me falling or still down on one of the Gathering threads.

 

I fall too often and I think I need to be a little more careful and not do that anymore.

post #6 of 28
Back in '93 I ended up taking the sled down and going to the hospital with a pretty decent concusion. I went off to the side of the run where there was a four foot jump, and on the landing there was an ice patch and my skis went out to the sides and my head went down hard right in the middle. I ended up on my knees and blood and slime was dripping from several places. I didn't remember anything except my name, not where I was, where I lived or anything like that. They came and got me with the sled and I've taken it pretty easy with the jumping since. My upper lip looked like a duck beak the next day, and my head and back was sore. I still have scars on my chin and next to the nose from that incident.

It's always sad to see when the sled comes or someone is laying down for too long, I hope we all have a fun injury-free season ahead of us!

P.S. This was at a time when wearing a helmet was considered to be for children (at least where I was at), and us cool teenagers didn't need that. Well..
post #7 of 28

I also don't qualify based on skiing skills... but I've gotten pretty expert at falling over the years. :D

 

The biggest in terms of distance was at Whitetail a couple of seasons ago... I was cruising pretty fast (for me), probably up near 30 MPH. Not paying enough attention, there was suddenly a small mogul in front of me I hadn't seen... I couldn't decide in time whether to turn left or right, so I tried to do both, and my left ski went left and right ski went right.... 

 

I flew forward over the little mound, left both skis behind, and slid what seemed like a hundred yards down the (hard packed) slope. I actually had time to briefly try to self arrest like I'd read about on here, which is unusual for a groomed blue slope. I was a bit bruised, but OK, and some nice people brought my skis to me. :)

post #8 of 28

 

This is me. I'm standing on my skis looking all cool and confident. Well I tried doing this to impress some female guests while hanging around in the instructor coral one morning and completely botched it and ended up falling and getting myself all tangled up into a mess of skis and poles. Another instructor had to come and kick my skis off for me. And the worst part is, the ladies didn't even stick around to give me their numbers afterwards.

 

 

Another time, during my Level 3 teaching exam, we were doing moguls on Bark Sandwhich on Whistler. In the middle of my demonstration, I expertly planted my pole in what turned out to be a snow-covered shrub. My pole got stuck and I kept going and ended up being flung around by the shrub. Right in front of the examiners. But as they say... if you can't laugh at yourself...

 

Best crash I can remember... on Grouse Mountain, there's this little 5 foot drop onto a cat track. In thick fog, I could have sworn thats where I was. As it turns out I was about 20 feet to the left, and there was a rather large 15 foot drop onto a flat cat track. So off I went, and when I hit the flat landing, my knees compressed and three things happened. First, my skis burst off from the impact, second, I kneed myself in the jaw, and third I slid across the cat track over the edge onto another run. My friend found me from the trail of blood I had left behind. 

 

 

Oh another fun crash... picture this: A beautiful bluebird morning. 7:45 am. First one on the freshly groomed cords. Got to get first run in before those annoying race team kids ruin it. I step into my racing skis with a satisfying clack. I set out on a nice long wide green run, knowing I can rip because there's nobody else on the run. I'm flying. It's an amazing sensation, laying amazing railroad tracks behind me. And then up ahead is a snowmaker, blasting snow on to the ground. I hit the sticky man made snow, and abruptly everything stops. Well... at least the skis do. I keep going, straight out of the skis, and straight onto my head. In uniform no less. "hey man you okay?" It's one of those damn race kids. I'm fine... it's just my pride that hurts.

post #9 of 28

Long LONG ago I taught at Pikes Peak Ski area. A photographer shows up shooting footage for small ski areas in Colorado on a bluebird New Years Eve. The Director sends me out with the guy; we actually got some footage he used.

 

Here is what the film shows:skier with sun behind him turns behind 1 snow covered pine tree maybe 20' tall. All the snow falls off the tree.

 

Behind the tree:While turning I stuck a tip on a 210 under some sun crust and supermaned into the tree. Came out of there with all kinds of lacerations and a branch sticking out of my face near the bottom corner of my nose.I have 2 eyes today thanks to very good sunglasses. We were about a mile above the little ski area so I skied down, dripping blood all the way. My friends at the patrol shack wouldn't do a thing till they found a Polaroid.

 

They got me and my car off the mountain to an emergency room. They pull the branch out, shaved a lot of hairline back and installed some really interesting stitches and sent me home. 

A few hours later there is a knock at the door, my date opens the door and there stands this scabbed up guy doing a very good immatation of Frankenstein's Monster, and it is her date. Until then I did not know a living person could turn that color; a very short date.

post #10 of 28

My all-time worst "crash" happened 40+ years ago (I am "slopefossil" after all):

 

Skiing with a group of buddies during big storm.  White out.  I get the bright idea to take a new shortcut traverse to get at one of the steepest runs there.  I was in the lead.  We were not going very fast.  I was sure I knew the right line, but visibility was just a few feet.  I had briefly looked over my shoulder.  Suddenly, tips feel light.  I look down & see the bottom of a rocky cornice.  20-40ft down (actual height is a dim memory now).  I reacted just in time with the beginning of a lunge forward - to clear the rock line below.  I had just a few inches of the tails of my skis on the snow when I did that.  The result was a forward/somersault flip.  I landed HARD at the bottom with my legs fully extended.  Hard wind crust snow.  When I hit, I collapsed backwards onto my skis hard.  The impact bounced me back upright & a bit back in the air, but I stayed in control and came to a stop.  No binding release but - as I learned the next day - I blew my right ACL.  Hips hurt for months too. 

 

Anyway, my buddies saw this play out from above.  They were laughing.  They thought it almost looked like a stunt.  No stunt - just pure stupidity.  My knee hurt a bit, but I kept skiing the rest of the day - despite it feeling loose.  Saw the doc the next day & got the verdict.  Back in those days ACL reconstruction just wasn't an option.  So I limped around with crutches & a brace for a while.  Tough scenario if you're working in a ski rental shop.  Was back on the slopes after a few weeks.  Used a sports brace (which really didn't help much) & took it easy the rest of the season.  To this day I ski without an ACL.  My knee finally stabilized when I hit my 30s, mostly due to years of work in strengthening my lower body.

 

My most recent major crash was in 2014/2015:

 

Mid winter, cold bluebird day, several inches of new snow overnight.   Skiing along fast, ripping strong GS turns on a wide open groomer.  Suddenly double ejected, superman style.  I caught a glimpse of my skis in the snow behind me as I flew in the air.  Face planted waaay down the fall line.  Ski patrol was nearby & came to check if I was alive.  I was, but I was laughing too much to respond right away.  Couldn't see anything either as my goggles were full of snow - as were my jacket & pants.  I really dug a trench when I landed.  To this day I still don't know what exactly happened.  Felt like my skis instantly crossed somehow and catapulted me.  Might have been a bad pole plant or simply being too lazy with the inside ski mid turn.

post #11 of 28
Quote:

Post #16

post #12 of 28

Kelly Canyon, Idaho, winter of 78-79, short swings under a chairlift.  My ski comes off (K2 Comp 610 with Tyrolia Diagonal bindings) while I'm still upright and going downhill.  Since ski brakes were rare and I was attached to my skis with straps, the ski whips around and hits me right across my forehead.  Through goggles and glasses, it leaves a nasty gash above one eye.  My only trip to the ski patrol shack, at least as a victim.  I still have the strap on my bookshelf at work.

 

post #13 of 28


Nice Baseball you have there @SpikeDog

 

I'm also probably not all the qualified to talk about crashing since I'm far from advance.  However I had a run in with a tree at Northstar back in the early 2000's.  Skiing through some widely spaced trees and one ski dipped into a tree well shooting me directly towards another one.  I couldn't decide to left or right of it so I just went parallel to the ground.  Legs on one side top half on the other.  An equipment explosion occurred which resulted in a spectacular yard sale.  My brother in law who was with me was laughing to hard to help me gather my stuff back up.  Anyway I skied away with some really sore ribs.  I had one day left to ski so I gutted it out the next day even though I could barely breath. 

post #14 of 28

Yard saled and hit my head walking through an icy parking lot in ski boots.  Ski boot walking is the most dangerous part of skiing imo.

post #15 of 28

pretty early in the season at Alta, near whiteout conditions, putting the foot on the gas pedal racing a couple of buds.  about 50 yards ahead i see a guy stopped on top of what appeared to be about a 6-7 foot hill, so keep motoring........what i couldnt see was the 5 foot depression before the hill and proceeded to bury both tips into the bottom of the depression. double ejection! complete forward flip up and into the "hill" -  i almost hit the guy standing on top of the hill. he got a good laugh out of it once he knew i was ok

 

proceeded to buy better goggles that week!!

 

:cool

post #16 of 28

Hmm, I think my most interesting wipeout--

 

I was taking a moguls focused private lesson ~10 years ago.  I had rental boots and skis.  I wasn't doing so good - but I was trying.  I ended up sticking the tips of my skis into the top of a mogul.  I went over the handlebars, but neither binding released.  Instead, I found myself on the ground with one ski on, and the other foot - just the sock.  My ski was still stuck in the mogul with the boot attached.

 

I guess the rental boots were too big :-D

post #17 of 28

Giving my 12 year old daughter a lesson in the bumps last year.

I lost it after I went over the first bump. I have no idea what happened.

I stood up , put my ski on, lost my balance and immediately went down again.

My daughter who was now hysterically laughing at her old man caught the attention of the folks on the lift right above us. They were laughing and cheering now too. I had no choice but to stand up and take a bow. Sometimes you just gotta shut up, swallow your price and  take it like a man!

Lots of mental carnage there! I’m afraid I will never be the same!

post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by core2 View Post
 

Yard saled and hit my head walking through an icy parking lot in ski boots.  Ski boot walking is the most dangerous part of skiing imo.


MA on my falls while walking in ski boots:

 

I tend to plant my forward boot on its heel, then move myself over that boot and roll onto its toe as I move forward.

If I'm too far aft on that heel as I move over it, it slides forward instead of gripping and down I go.  This happens inside

and on the deck next to the lodge as well as in the parking lot. 

 

Happens all the time.  You'd think I'd learn ............ 

post #19 of 28

A long time ago , in my misspent youth, on a hungover morning, as I entered the gondola at Mt Ste Anne, the tails of my skis caught in the grillage. My boots slipped out behind me as I fell face / chin first onto my now scissored skis. I got a nasty gash on the underside of my chin that bled like a stuck pig. Blood all down the front of my ski jacket. My mates helped me patch up on the trip up with serviettes and adhesive tape. Still have a scar.

post #20 of 28

Gee, where to start...

Most of the more impressive wipeouts occurred more than 40 yrs ago.  Let's see, 72 freestyle champs in Vail- bumps- Due to pressure from a sponsor, I didn't modify the cuffs of my boots, started out going through the troughs to pick up speed then started going over the tops (fun the break the tops off and come out in a cloud of snow).  Hit a bump too hard for the boot/leg combo resulting in a tib/fib break CAUSING a forward somersault.  Happened right next to a vid camera.  Friends said it was replayed in a bar later..  I was in hospital so didn't get to see it.  Kind of rare to break a leg before falling, so I'm told.

Previously in the same contest..  Aerials.  Hit a kicker and pulled a beautiful Mobius  Only problem was, both skis ejected at take off!  They came down and buried halfway, tail first a few feet away from me.  No injury on that one, and would have been pretty funny if I wasn't so disappointed.  Did get to see that one on TV later that year.  Was part of some clips shown on Johnny Carson's show later that year when Suzie Chapstick was the guest.

 

gelende (sp?) contest in Vail earlier that year,  First jump I was concerned about making it to the landing slope (had to clear 125' of flat to get the landing slope).  Started out of the gate like it was an Olympic downhill, skating and poling into a tuck..  Hauling ass on the approach and give it a big spring off the lip!  Immediately catch a lot of air pressure in the chest...  back peddle like mad..  Land on the back of my shoulders/head at over 70 mph!  No idea how many revolutions I made during the tumble.  No real injury.  Wish I could have gone that far and land it.  Would have won..

 

Broke 14 pairs of skis that year and 6 pr of boots, so there are some more stories there, but I'll move on.

 

Took a few decades off, then started skiing again a few years ago.  First year back I went to Grand Targhee in the spring.  Last day, I'm skiing in white-out conditions and hit a chunk of ice that was kicked up by a groomer.  Face plant..  smarted.  A nothing fall by my historic standards, but I have concluded that snow is MUCH harder than it used to be! (went water skiing last summer and went over the jump a couple times and determined that water is also much harder than it used to be!)  Perhaps gravity is increasing..

 

I don't think that skill level is very relevant to how often one falls, so much as how close to the edge of sanity one skis!  I don't tend to fall more than once a season now.   Not sure I'm any more sane, just more of a puss!

post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by core2 View Post
 

Yard saled and hit my head walking through an icy parking lot in ski boots.  Ski boot walking is the most dangerous part of skiing imo.


MA on my falls while walking in ski boots:

 

I tend to plant my forward boot on its heel, then move myself over that boot and roll onto its toe as I move forward.

If I'm too far aft on that heel as I move over it, it slides forward instead of gripping and down I go.  This happens inside

and on the deck next to the lodge as well as in the parking lot. 

 

Happens all the time.  You'd think I'd learn ............ 


I actually managed to flip over backwards from a 2-footed stance.   Anyway, I  remember sliding on both boots (with Cat-trax) down the icy little driveway, then boom.  But I've definitely done that heel-strike-then-oh-shit.    Seems like ski boots couldn't be better at putting you in the back seat while walking if deliberately designed to do that.

post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ratfactor View Post

Not sure I'm any more sane, just more of a puss!

Respect.
post #23 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowObstacle View Post
 

Hmm.    Not sure I'm allowed to play here, as my skills don't really add up to "proficient," but what the heck...

 

Does it count if the worst accident you've ever had in ski gear (including boots and helmet) wasn't while skiing?

 

On skis, my carnage quotient is pretty low: I fall a couple of times per season, and in about 10 years, I've never done anything worse than tweak my knee, and that healed up in a few days. 

 

With my skis over my shoulder, boots on my feet, helmet on my head, I hit a patch of ice on a sidewalk on the way to the lodge, flipped over backwards, and landed on the back of my head.  Don't remember sitting back up, couldn't tell you how my helmet ended up sitting on the sidewalk next to me (though I'm pretty sure it was on my head when I hit the sidewalk), but oh man did my head hurt.  That was 18 months ago to the day, and things still aren't completely back to where they were. 

 

Skiing may be a little risky, but sidewalks are dangerous.

 

Totally counts. I have absolutely eaten it walking into the bathroom in the lodge. Going from carpet to slick tile in ski boots, more treacherous than going from slush to ice on skis.

post #24 of 28

I dislocated my finger on a slip walking up the steps into Jay Peak's Stateside lodge for lunch.  Looked at my hand saw left middle finger at about a 45 degree angle and I just immediately yanked on it.  Popped back into place and the only pain I really had was I could not slide a note up the neck of my guitar...that killed. I had a gig a couple days afterwards and I forgot just once before getting that painful reminder that move was not going to be in my bag of tricks that night!

post #25 of 28
Five day training event prep for certification exam.

Morning of the fifth day coming down the narrow stairs of the condo boot bag in one hand have to turn diagonally for it to fit. Checking iPhone with the other hand. Foot slips out fall straight down onto elbow, jambed shoulder, tore rotator cuff. Could only manage one run and was told on it that I wasn't ready to pass the test that season.

Bad day.
post #26 of 28

Last good crash was straight into a very large pine tree on a powder day.  Banged myself up pretty good, black eye and all.  Since then I have really become pretty conservative, as I don't need to do something dumb like that again.

Edit to add one early season pow day I hit a buried log at speed, double eject and flip in the air to land on my back in the snow.  I was shocked my skis were ok.

post #27 of 28

When I was 17 wiped on big moguls with no gloves on ski went flying severed the tendon on my index finger knuckle.  I always wear gloves now, probably time to get a helmet now that I think of it.

post #28 of 28

ME?   Why, I never fall!

 

Well, actually I'll bring up   once @ Crystal Mt.  People that are familiar with Crystal will laugh over this one.

Back when there was a lift going up K2 Face to Campbell Basin,  I headed down K2 face under the lift.  It was a clear day on the weekend early in the morning,  and the lift was full so everybody was watching.  Right at the top of the crest, I was the only one on the slope, I blew it big time and fell and tumbled halfway down the thing!!  All I had on my mind was I had to get out of there, but you can't go in the woods to hide.  Can't really go left or right in the woods, had to just go down the rest of the  thing with everybody looking and hollering.   What A Pro 

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