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After a long drought

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
As promised to Nolo and all in the "To all our friends" thread, here we go...

After a long drought.

two years of no skiing, patiently waiting, watching tv and reading magazines and internet forums were no fun, no fun at all, I swear.
Even though the fast had indeed been already interrupted on Sun 12/16, I've finally had my Christmas skiing holyday.
This skiing holyday has been full of "first ever", both for me and my friends, the first one is simple you'll see, for I usually went skiing during the Christmas Holydays, but on day trips, not on a multiday holyday...

We left home on friday after dinner, you know, I drive better with my stomach properly taken care of...
The journey, while driving to our destination we chitchatted away the time was quite uneventful, lasted only something shy
of a couple of hours, some 110 km and we were there.
Roberto, our kind host - a big hearty thank you to him who invited us to his mountain condo to spend the new year's festivities - was
waiting for us with his friend Paola, braving the cold winter night in the middle of the town streets...
Laura and me (in case you were wondering about those "we" and "us", the company was made of the 4 of us plus reinforcements
who came in dayly to ski with us) so arrived, unloaded the car, parked it, and procceded to go to sleep.

Next morning, Saturday, after a "biological wake up" (aka, "let's sleep till we can't no more, no Dawn Patrol for us, thanks")
we managed to have breakfast and board the cable car at about 09.30-10.00...
Given the time of the day , we decided to buy a "4 hours pass" (great idea BTW, one buys 4 hrs of lift acces, and the time
starts when the first gate is passed) ski till would expire,
then eat mid mountain, biding our time, and ski down home at dusk (aka 16.30, time of lift ops closure)
What a Blue bird day, full of promises of skiing to near exhaustion, fun and...learning.
For, you see, the second "first ever" is that for Laura, though a world-class inline speed skater (until 2000 she competed
in the european-swiss marathon tour, running for the Fila team; BTW her brother competed for the Fila team till its demise
one and an half year ago) this was her first day on downhill ski (to all practcal purpouses, since she skied -once- some 13
years ago and promptly proceeded to injure, albeit not heavily, her left knee) in her life...
Foolishly I decided to try and teach her...
I know, I shouldn't have taken that decision but...hey, I did not want to push my body too much on the first day of a multiday ski trip, and beyond, I wanted to. I felt I could teach her.
We had a rendez vous with two other friends who were coming to ski with us on that day, Ricky and Davide...
Met them up mid mountain at a small bar, a modern glass and steel structure resembling an Indian (Native American) tepee, the
"Acquarela" bar.
There we had a cappuccino and off we went.
The lower runs were all covered with man made, hard as cement, snow. And after a few hours of scraping the situation would not
Roberto, Paola, Ricky and Davide, all of them good skiers, took off on their own, to reach the base station via the red run,
known as "Vanoni" while Laura and me went down the blue (then merging into a red in its final section) one.
Laura behaved very well, even if the inline skating turning technique is somehow counterintuitive for a skier and viceversa
(in a turn on inlines the weight goes to the inside leg) but being a novice and not used to all the people zooming around us
in this cold, strange and alien - for her- environment.
We skied a bit and then decided to "seek the sun" moving to another section of the ski area, more south exposed (nearly all
of Madesimo runs are north exposed) but before that I had the luck to get in touch with ours Prickly. Yes! After aour missed
rendez-vous of Dec 15-16 we were finally able to meet. He was with a friends of his and was skiing the "Canalone" off piste which,
being my first day was not doable for me. So, after a brief chat (and a couple of pics which I leave to Prickly to post when he'll
be back after Jan 06) and promises to meet again we parted and I went back up the hill to get Laura and continue our ski
journey toward the sun...

End of Part one
post #2 of 15
Thanks for sharing with us, Matteo... and welcome back!
post #3 of 15
More, more!
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Before I go on, a small digression about our equipment...
Me :
Old and edgeless Voelkl P40F1 (198cm)
Brand new (used only once before, so not yet "broken into") Tecnica Icon Race XT 17
Laura :
Borrowed (from my mother) 160 cm Prime ski and Salomon boots

Two images of one of the mountain's restaurants, the "Ristoro Larici"
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Part two

So, I left Prickly and took the chairlift back to the top of Cima Sole, from where the "Vanoni", a logn red run begins and where, midway from it
Laura was waiting for me, having previously managed to ski to that point toghether. The "Vanoni" is steep at its top, then flattish,
then again a small steep at the end of which the Cima Sole chairlift starts (near the Larici mountain "lodge") then again flattish before entering
its final third.
Before that, at the end of the first flattish section, we took the "Vanoni-Lago Azzurro" a "skiweg" marked blue, a flattish run connecting one part
of the ski area to the other.
Still, she was getting the hang of it, and was starting to link wedge turns one to the other, especiall when no crowds were around.
Meanwhile Roberto Paola and the others were off looking to reserve a table at a small restaurant where we intended to ski...
Laura and me took another chairlift, the "Colmanetta" and ski back to its lower station...unfortunately we took a red run instead of the blue one, but
given that she skied down an icier red earlier and that this red was in the sun, I thought that she would manage it without troubles...
And so it was until...on a somehow steeper part, while nearly still she got too close to the run edge, got afraid for that (she later admitted to be
wary of runs' edges, for fear of "falling out" of the run) reason, and tumbled...
The tumble was really a silly one, at nil speed or nearly so, but she pivoted around her right leg, given the speed the binding did not release,
after I reached her from below, she got up and told me that she had felt a sharp pain in the right knee but that now she felt somehow ok...
After a brief rest we resumed oru skiing, slowing down even more, and I tried to select the easiest and less crowded path (even waiting for sections to
totally clear of people before proceeding), In an effort to avoid a small steep we even entered the "offpiste" (but snow was so hard as not to bear any
difference with a groomed run) scarcely wooded section separating two runs, so to always find ourselves in flattish sections of runs.
In the end we reached again the Colmanetta base station, where also another mid mountain restaurant,the "Baita del Sole" (The Sun's Hut) is located.
By now Laura was feeling a bit tired, her muscles not used to the kind of work that to ski requires, especially to a beginner, not to mention this little
pain in her right knee, to which she did not fuss much about, proclaiming that she was not a "whimp".
We often complain about cell phones on the pistes but, thanks to this kind of device I was able to talk, earlier with Prickly to arrange our rendez vous,
and now to reach Roberto and the others and tell them where we were. They had discovered that our intended destination was not
accepting reservation...

End of Part two
post #6 of 15
So here's the photo of the Prickly/Nobody meet-up. Not a great one, but what the hell. I also put in a word or two about the encounter in the Eurozone area: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=64567.

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 

Here's the one I took :o

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
So to prove that Prickly and Nobody aren't the same person...
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Part three

The group skied down a new red run, while the two of us took a blue which would end at the same charilift base station.
My companion was still skiing with determination and with what I've often envied in other skiers, what I call the capacity of keeping a
"constant flow" (link turns continously without interruption in their action until an intended "destination" has been reached, all done at constant speed with little or no acceleration or deceleration).
She skied so till the last 50 feet of the run, which turned out to be a steep icy wall...
My preferred strategy, when I was a kid, in such cases was "the faster I put this spot behind me, the better".
But can't tell this to an adult beginner, whose "fear factor" (or the capacity to rationalize, depending from which side we look at it) is too developed.
Instead, we sidestepped down it.
After all, sidestep down and up a slope, fishbone, wedge and the like are the basics that we all better have in our bag. I know that it's boring and "un-cool" to have to sidestep down something, but, who, amongst us, has never ever sidestepped down or up a slope out of need, even today?
Back to the top, the "Baita del Sole" berfiended us...
Pizzoccheri (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pizzoccheri), then Polenta (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polenta) and grilled sausage
(Salamella)...accompained with a glass of red wine (only one, it's good for my health you know) were our reward for a hard morning work.
No, I did not eat all that by myself. The two of us shared half of each dish, which revealed to be enough! The salamella is
a tasty sausage but somehow difficult to digest...
Chitchatting and sipping coffe time to go for the two of us came. The others decided to wait a little bit more.
We took again the same blue run we skied earlier. Again I was surprised by her (not so much after all, I'd have expected
something of the kind, from an athlete and her friends thought the same too) flowing down the run with ease.
I started to believe that a transaction from wedge to parallel could have been attained by the end of our stay, in four days.
Then and there, the god of snow must have decided to punish my vainglory.

End of Part three
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Part four

Breakfast time...
My cell phone rings...
...two of my colleagues, Barbara and Giovanni, had decided to come up and ski with us, alas...
Only one of the others choose to ski the others preferring to rest, hence we took off to meet my colleagues and ski with them.
Once we met, at the Larici top station, we intended to ski the canalone or, at least, go to look how conditions were in "Val di Lei" but the cold wind blowing
at the top of the mid mountain chairlift made us reconsider.
Since the time was mid morning I rang Prickly again.
Funnily he was 10 meters from me,and I hadn't seen him! He was looking for Prickly Jr who was attending ski school that day
Introduction were made and we decided to ski a for a while all toghether.

Prickly is an accomplished and superb skier, not to mention a very nice guy to talk to and spend time toghether.
Every local there knows him, if not personally, by fame.
That day he was "testing" his new skis, a 165 cm SLr (race stock) Nordica Slalom skis...I followed him, lagging behind with my long boards...anyhow,
the five of us skied until Prickly had found Prickly jr.

Then we parted, with words to meet, if possible, after skiing...
At that point I got a call from the group who stayed home, they intended to reach a mid mountain restaurant for lunch. After I got the name of it, we four "skiers" set off to reach them,
meet and spend a bit of time together.
Lunch was, as usual, very good even if, being Sunday, all restaurants were crowded.

Skied again a bit after lunch then we parted with my colleagues who had to drive home and went back to the flat.

End of Part four
post #11 of 15
I LOVE THAT PRICKLY JR. THING! Can't wait to tell my son (Sebastian) that he has a new nickname. He was also infatuated with Laura, too. We've got to meet up for a Canalone ASAP (as soon as you get yourself a shorter pair of skis!). A presto, JC
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by prickly View Post
I LOVE THAT PRICKLY JR. THING! Can't wait to tell my son (Sebastian) that he has a new nickname. He was also infatuated with Laura, too. We've got to meet up for a Canalone ASAP (as soon as you get yourself a shorter pair of skis!). A presto, JC

Eheh happy to have been useful!
Laura was also "taken" by Seb.
Even if she's not a mother (yet) she is very good with children and teens. All her pupils love her, all her pupils' parents think high of her.

Either I'll find a shorter pair of skis, or I'll have to build my body back to 25 y.o....
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Morning again.
My girl decided not to ski.

There are now three of us skiing. We'll try again to go up in "Val di Lei".
Sun is shinnig as it was for the last two days but once we reach the valley we discover that the whole area is drowned in clouds!
Fearing we'd ski in a blizzard we decided nevertheless to try at least once to ski down to the lift base. And here comes the surprises.
There is no blizzard, only the usual wind that one is thought to find ar 3000 mt. Visibility is ok. Temp a bit cold, though.
The night before it had snowed a bit and the fresh snow, w/o man made interference is faboulous to ski on!
We skied three laps then, since it was a bit cold decided to go back to the "Larici", meet with the others and eat.
To reach Larici from "Val di Lei" there are two options:
-Ski down Canalone
-Take the tram down
Obviously I did not want to take the tram, but to say the truth, no one wanted to. We wanted to ski down the Canalone.
Canalone, by then, had become a 1km long bump run. absolutely marvellous to ski down, even if a bit too much for my not ready legs.
To negotiate turns in some of the tight spots Canalone has, between rock and bumps w/ my long skis did reveal itself a bit too tiring.
Once we reached the Larici it was time, for me, to call it a day. One Canalone per diem was enough!
After lunch, I did ski one trail more but that was all. Sitting on the utside benches of a mountain restaurant on the last day of the year, in the dimming light, was gorgeous!
Still, Mother's Nature snow which was present in Val di Lei was a far cry better than all the hard, icy layer which
covered the lower runs of the resort.

End of Part five
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 


Back to work, it's evening and I'm driving home after a day spent supporting one of our customers.
I decide to ring up my colleagues who came up and ski with us, after a brief chit chat composed of "how are you etc"
suddenly, when it's his turn to tell me all his well on his part, he delivers a "bomb": "you know -he says- I've broken an external malleolus during
the last run, Sunday afternoon. The leg is now plastered but if the bone is not going to heal correctly I may need surgery...".
I am incredulous, flabbergasted! I did not even see him fall! And the tumble was indeed a "silly" one, he maintains...
Imagine, he did not realize immediately he'd broken something, skied dowen to his car and drove home!
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Remember this sentence above : "told me that she had felt a sharp pain in the right knee" ? That was the reason
she did not ski for the rest of the trip, the knee had swollen and it was deemed better not to stress it further...
"Live and ski another day"...


It's 23.30. I'm back home after having been in Milan to a diag centre, where Laura's knee has been "scanned" in an MRI
A first glance is not encouraging at all, her brother first and worst remote-diag seems to be true...A Blown ACL,
worn out meniscuses (both, even thought this seems to be due to 20+ years of professional speed skating) and to top that,
the tibial plateau does somehow "looks funny" (whatever that means)...
That was a pre-report that the RMI techie relayed to us, he used cautious words and told us to wait till the final report would be available
Since the knee is still swollen (there was a lot of fluid in it), another RMI scan is planned in 10 days to better
identify the damages extents...
I can't beleive such an insignificant tumble did so a great damage.

Today I'm home...it's 13.30 and am foreseen stealing looks at the Adelbonden SL airing on the TV...But first I call about the
RMI results...
The first RMI results have finally come in, in written...
What we can make out readying all the psychobabble is:
One of her meniscuses, has indeed broken because of the tumble, the ACL is "probably" broken, the PCL has collapsed
(probably this is the reason the tibial plateau "looked funny" at first...)
The Knee is still swollen...

Happy ending!
It has been two hellish weeks, Laura has been using crutches since we came back from the mountain, only in the past two days
the knee has started to deflate...
Her humor is not really "happy", a sporting, indipendent and active aggressive ex-racer
like her to be obliged to wait, unable to move around un-aided (she couldn't drive a car, so she always needed someone to
drive her around even to shuttle to/fro work)
Tonight we're going to visit an orthopaedic and show him the RI scan results.
After a brief chat what we are able to understand is that
Yes, the knee has had a big big blow, yes, the meniscus is cracked but not totally broken. But the ACL and PCL aren't blown, the knee
has still its whole functionality, and needs only rest, physiotherapy and exercise, no surgery!
I'm relieved!
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