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I had an amazing crash yesterday

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
This was my first major crash in probably 15 years, and I am still marveling how I came out of it with no (apparent) injuries. If there was ever a case for how bindings are supposed to work, and how a helmet can prevent associated injuries, this is it. Plus, I think I was just plain lucky.

We finally got some good snow in the mid-Atlantic recently, 20+ inches over 7-8 days, and I got up at 4am yesterday to drive over to Snowshoe WV for the day. They had 10-12" of new snow since Wednesday, and it snowed off and on all day yesterday. If you could ignore the mid-season thaw-freeze frozen granular in places (which was not an issue most of the time), the skiing was very good. I bash Snowshoe quite a bit, but on an uncrowded weekday with powder, it can be a nice place.

I was skiing through about 6" of fresh snow and crud in Knot Bumper glades (which is just a regular trail with a dozen big trees in one section) and went between two trees, about 4 feet apart, at a very fast clip. Very fast. Right as I passed the two trees, I heard a loud "click - click", which I later realized was the sound of both heel pieces releasing as I went over the handlebars.

At this point I had no idea the skis came off, or that I was actually flying through the air. In fact I remember attempting at least one pole plant before I landed on my head and chest and impacted the ground pretty hard. That impact was the first sign that I was no longer skiing, so it came as a major surprise. I got up quickly, shook myself off, and verified that I was still alive with all my pieces attached and no major injuries.

Right away, I felt extremely lucky to be OK. My neck was sore, but that was it. I am lucky the landing was so smooth, and at such a shallow angle. My helmet (full coverage Leedom Scream) saved me from a serious face plant just because it puts a 1-2" buffer around the face area. A day later, my neck and shoulders are sore, but I seem fine. Other than a smashed sandwich (in left chest pocket) and a disintegrated bag of triscuits (right chest pocked) I came out of this unscathed. I didn't even damage my camera or iPod.

After looking around, I was shocked to see my skis about 20 feet uphill, right between those trees. That means I was airborne for a loooong distance before crashing. It was all so smooth and quiet, and the binding release so quick and fast, I had no idea I was flying through the air. Basically, all of my momentum on the skis was converted into an aerial launch without missing a beat. I always wanted to fly as a kid, and this was the real thing.

I went back uphill to retrieve my skis and examine the cause of the crash. It looks like the manmade snow base was spread around and through some of the trees, but not the two I skied in between, so there was a natural ramp there. Powder had drifted into the trees and covered the whole area, hiding that big ramp under the surface. I basically skied straight into a 2 foot high, powder covered ramp at full speed. My skis went partway up the ramp, but I imagine the weight shift was too much for the heel pieces.

I set my bindings exactly per the chart, which results in an 8 for my height/weight and 325mm boots. I am wondering if a higher setting would have allowed me to keep the skis on, given the almost effortless release, but I am thinking it probably just would have caused more stress on my legs and knees before releasing. The conversion of all that momentum from skiing to airborne launch has got to be a serious load. High speed releases are what bindings are good at, and this was a textbook case.

I'm lucky those two trees were at the lower edge of the glades, since there was a clear landing zone below. Had this happened in the middle of the trees, that smooth flight through the air might have pointed me right at another tree. It all happened so fast, I would have been unable to react.

I guess the speed of the crash is what surprised me the most -- I seriously had no idea I was f#@ked until I hit the ground. One second I was having an awesome run, the next I was face down on the snow, 20 ft downhill.

Normally, I can look at my crashes with humor and chalk them up as a learning experience and a good source of entertainment. This one is really different, as I was skiing confidently and in control and then the next minute I was body slamming the snow head first. I think it's pure luck I came out of this OK.

If anybody's looking for me during the rest of the season, I'll be that dude skiing the fast line *extremely* slow....
post #2 of 25
Lets see how long you last skiing in the fast lane really slow....don't fool yourself..it ain' nearly as much fun.
Do yourself a favor and crank your DIN up above the specs which is where you should have had them anyway.

OH NO, did I say crank the DIN above specs??? Here we go....
post #3 of 25
Since it was the heel pices that released simulatneously on both skis it sounds like you snagged something between the trees. It doesnt sound like a pre-release issue. Given this, consider yourself lucky. If the skis did not release you would probably be in a world of hurt if you did in fact snag something like a vine or root or the tips got jammed into a pile of crud. Sounds like the bindings did what they were suppoed to do.
post #4 of 25
Its interesting. In the past 3 years, I've had several spectacular crashes when I didn't used to have such. Last year, I had an amazing rag doll down Tom's at Breck and I was convinced I was going to hit a tree but miraculously missed it. Two runs later, I had a weird dismount of the chair and tore my MCL. I then hit a tree at ESA, and had my first trip down the mountain in a sled and also my first ride in an ambulance. This year, I hit a tree at Eldora and seriously bruised my knee, right after taking a roller at 50+ MPH, sailing for 50 feet, and defining yard sale.

I don't generally ski out of control, but it is weird how I'm starting to have these episodes where things go wrong -- badly. The ESA crash was related to blowing out of a ski -- and the others were just things that go wrong.

Perhaps it is my advancing age!

I'm not letting it intimidate me or change how I ski, however. I'm still progressing, and looking forward to completing my first ESA.

Mike
post #5 of 25
Double ejecting and getting the wind knocked out of you is an amazing crash on the epicski now? Noted.

Your bindings are fine. Operator error. Don't ski between trees on a groomed run at a high rate of speed. That area hasn't been groomed. The machine doesn't fit there.

You should turn your bindings up when they release at a time you don't want them to. Jamming your skis into something that makes them stop being skis and start being levers on your lower leg is not a good reason to change your setting, up or down.

I feel for you. I haven't done that in years, but it is is both frustrating and painful if you can't roll out of it.
post #6 of 25
So what is you DIN setting supposed to be and what is it set at. How often do they release. Treewell does have a point. If you are skiing fast and aggressive they need to be set higher.
post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
Garrett, normally that gladed area is fully skiable when there's natural snow -- this is the first time I have noticed such a big step between the gladed area and the rest of the trail, and it was definitely my fault for assuming there would be a smooth transition. With all the powder, it was one long uninterrupted line as far as I could see. I should known better than to assume it was as good as it looked.

Of course, it would have been a non-event if I saw the step coming -- a simple leg retraction would have absorbed it (like the kind of crap you might have to deal with on a severely washboarded traverse all the time). Heck, that was the kind of stuff I used to seek out and jump when I was a kid. This time it was like getting sucker punched out of nowhere.

Mike, I think you win for crash stories -- rock on!

Paul, the chart puts me at an 8 and that's where the bindings were set. The fact that I came out so smoothly makes me wonder if I need to go to a higher DIN now that I ski more aggressively. Part of me thinks that I would have ejected even at a higher setting, just because of the abrupt way I came out. This is the first time my bindings have released in as long as I can remember.
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post
So what is you DIN setting supposed to be and what is it set at. How often do they release. Treewell does have a point. If you are skiing fast and aggressive they need to be set higher.
Thank you...I do not know ANYONE who skis at a high level who DOES NOT crank the DIN up higher than the specs. Those who disagree are welcome to their opinion but I would suggest they are merely yahoos..
post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Treewell View Post
Those who disagree are welcome to their opinion but I would suggest they are merely yahoos..
Hi, I'm a yahoo who skis with toes set at 9.5, the chart setting for me (Marker, Salomon) or 8.5 (Look, Rossignol). I absolutely do not know what I'm doing, I'm a total gaper.

Heels, more like 11. But I've done the superman double eject with heels set as high as 14, on things just like what the OP described and washboard traverses I misjudged. It is painful and frustrating if you go down chest first and slap your head. Now I just ski traverses and runouts a bit more cautiously. I've lost one of two skis on non-vert cliffbands I didn't see three times so far this year, got lucky and rolled twice, ragdolled and lost the other ski once and went for a good long ride head over heels. That one left me sore for a while.

OP may or may not need a higher setting, but dumping both skis in the same place is usually a case of operator error, specifically that of skiing into something rather hard without seeing it or planning for it.
post #10 of 25
S219,

Sounds like you got a bit of tip dive in there. If your skis stayed put where you released, it most certainly wasn't a prerelease. You want the binding to come off smooth just like that.
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garrett View Post
Hi, I'm a yahoo who skis with toes set at 9.5, the chart setting for me (Marker, Salomon) or 8.5 (Look, Rossignol). I absolutely do not know what I'm doing, I'm a total gaper.

Heels, more like 11. But I've done the superman double eject with heels set as high as 14, on things just like what the OP described and washboard traverses I misjudged. It is painful and frustrating if you go down chest first and slap your head. Now I just ski traverses and runouts a bit more cautiously. I've lost one of two skis on non-vert cliffbands I didn't see three times so far this year, got lucky and rolled twice, ragdolled and lost the other ski once and went for a good long ride head over heels. That one left me sore for a while.

OP may or may not need a higher setting, but dumping both skis in the same place is usually a case of operator error, specifically that of skiing into something rather hard without seeing it or planning for it.
I would bet you are are a far stronger skiier than the other guy....Lets say you get a brand new pair of skis set at at lets say the "spec"of lets say 8 or 9?? You are skiing some very steep stuff where a pre-release could put you in serious danger. What do you do before the run?? Do you crank up the DIN?? I know why I'd do. Ragdolling over a 100 foot cliff due to a pre-release would really suck....
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Treewell View Post
Thank you...I do not know ANYONE who skis at a high level who DOES NOT crank the DIN up higher than the specs. Those who disagree are welcome to their opinion but I would suggest they are merely yahoos..
I'm 205# 5'10" and fairly aggressive - 54 yrs old. The DIN chart changes at 50 and I can almost pop the ski off when I want at that setting. Right now I'm set at 8.5 which I think is quite low for my size.

A pre-release can be serious trouble at high speeds or in the woods - even in bumps.

219 has to be the one to make the call along with a good shop who is willing to move the DIN up when called for. Was it a pre-release? Sometimes the release is so clean and quick that it's hard to tell if they released too easily.

Check your forward pressure.
post #13 of 25
I do crank up heel settings from what the chart suggests, but I've come to the conclusion I need to over a pretty long period of time. I'm just saying one fall where your skis got stuck someplace and you went for a trip isn't a real good reason to change what your bindings are doing, but it is a good reminder to watch out for situations like that. My ribs hurt just thinking about it. The reality is that with a higher setting, the result would most likely have been the same. Unless you get the setting high enough that the result is boot top fractures of legs.

I don't really do the situational setting thing for differing terrain. I ski stuff where falling might result in a long and painfu ride, but I try not to ski stuff where falling is likely to kill or seriously injure me. I'm a wuss like that.
post #14 of 25
Ya oughta try stuffing the left ski under a buried log and the right ski around the end of it--with runaway straps. I had a devil of a time escaping from that one.
post #15 of 25
Glad you're OK Craig! I've also had a few bike crashes this past year that makes me wonder about 'losing a step' and needing to ratchet it down a little. But skiing the trees all day Monday was simply too much fun with unbelievable and rare conditions to give in. :

I'm thinking one of these (or a sumo suit, along with trainingt wheels) will be worth considering though. Maybe we could do a group purchase???

post #16 of 25
Lesson of the day--don't ski at high speeds between trees that are only 4 feet apart.
post #17 of 25
Thread Starter 
Terry, maybe you could patent an air-bag suit which deploys under a particular combination of events. It could turn the skier into a big beach ball. That way you could bounce/roll right back to your car in the parking lot (or off a cliff). Would be great for removing bad skiers from the hill!
post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrzinwin View Post
Lesson of the day--don't ski at high speeds between trees that are only 4 feet apart.
Definitely; never mind deliberating about binding releases, I think my realization here is that I was going much too fast for the situation.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrzinwin View Post
Lesson of the day--don't ski at high speeds between trees that are only 4 feet apart.
Yes, I think instead of deliberating the function of the bindings, one should deliberate the choice of going "fast, very fast" thru a tree line as the OP stated. Of course if your intent is to get published in the obit section of the newspaper , then we have a different discussion.

The OP's tone was almost like "gee, look what I got away with, now if my bindings would have just held....."

What I would hope peeps would get out of this would be a walking dead skier preaching to his troops about their future skiing decisions. nuf said.
post #20 of 25
Sounds like the bindings did what they were supposed to...
post #21 of 25
I had an awsome crash a couple years ago at sun valley Idaho. We were all zooming down this hill and turning right into a sort of flat traverse (which was why we had so much speed) we were probably going around 55 mph or so, The guy in front of my did some wierd ass turn and I ran over his skies, went way out of control, turned left and ran about ten feet and hit this fence, flew over the fence and rolled a couple times, and ended up maybe twenty feet or more from the fency, and my skies and poles and everything were upthere to. I thought to myself ****, I must be hurt, then noticed that I wasnt and just though "THAT WAS AWSOME" I wish I would have gotten it on video. I had done about 4 sommersaults or so, and just flew. probably helps to be young and limber, it was a coupel years ago, I think I was 15 at the time. I was not injured at all

once I bombed down this hill at alta to hit this jump, but the jump sucked and I just flew straight and scorpioned, that kinda hurt, other then that no painful falls
post #22 of 25

din

When I started as a ski patrol,( in the rockies) we had an old patroler who set his din at 1 and would literally ski up to a wreck, slow up 20 feet away and in one motion click out of his skis and walk the last 10 feet to the injured person without coming to a stop. It was pretty cool to watch. He claimed that if you were on your skis correctly you didn't need a high din setting, although I never saw him come out of his skis accidently, I also never saw him put his old ass in any danger either.
post #23 of 25
Glad your ok, thats a good helmet you have there, Snell certified if I am not mistaken, one of the very few.
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post
So what is you DIN setting supposed to be and what is it set at. How often do they release. Treewell does have a point. If you are skiing fast and aggressive they need to be set higher.
Set it high enough and the worst that same fall would have done is tear your Achiles tendon. so, what the heck, ratchet it up.:
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post
Glad you're OK Craig! I've also had a few bike crashes this past year that makes me wonder about 'losing a step' and needing to ratchet it down a little. But skiing the trees all day Monday was simply too much fun with unbelievable and rare conditions to give in. :

I'm thinking one of these (or a sumo suit, along with trainingt wheels) will be worth considering though. Maybe we could do a group purchase???

Looks like an M&M for sharks. Nice popping sound when you bite into it with a nice warm gushy filling.
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