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It could happen to you

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I thought at some length about writing this post. It's kind of a sad story with a strangely happy ending. There's a pretty good ski lesson in it, so here goes.

I recently hired a new ski instructor. This fellow, Hugh, had been hanging out around our area for a few years. He'd sometimes come out on our morning sessions and ski around with us. Early this season, he decided to take the plunge and earn himself a red suit.

I am a fledgling course conductor... I am now certified to teach entry-level ski instructor courses here in Canada, and Hugh's course was my very first. Pretty exciting for both of us!

According to the technical standards as laid out in our manual, Hugh passed the course, if not in flying colors. Still passed though, plain and simple. He made it!

Hugh celebrated his 72nd birthday during the course. The next afternoon, our ski school had it's newest employee. You can't help but be inspired by a man, who at 70+ years of age, skied 100 days a year, figured that the "Seniors Alpine Ski Club" members were just too slow and decided to join the ski school in an attempt to find someone that could keep up with him.

On January 2 of this shiny new year, there was a collision between a rider and a skier. The skier went into the trees, breathing his last breath as he went.

There was no suffering. By all accounts, it was over pretty much instantly. Shock, anger, sadness, tears... it all happened pretty quickly.

We certainly didn't expect Hugh-dog to die that day. We took the afternoon off.

It was generally agreed that Hugh would want us to carry on with the show, so we went back to work the very next day. I'm sure everyone was a little heavy of heart, but at the same time inspired. Thinking, "Man, I hope when it's my time, I go just like that, doing something I love". It lends a whole new perspective to discussions about the relevance of the wedge christie. It makes you realize that no matter what your turns are called, no matter how young or how old you are, you are simply skiing. Every turn is precious.

Hugh was a bit of a daredevil, as I'm sure the great keeper of souls is finding out now. He used to fly fighter planes, and he skied in much the same way. It would take him an entire chairlift ride up to tell an old war story, but on the way down, there was no stoppin'.

He wore his suit proudly, proclaiming his thirst for knowledge and adventure. We will continue the search, good friend.
post #2 of 8
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>there was a collision between a rider and a skier<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I am sorry to hear of your loss.

Over on the General board there are a number of threads about increased incidences of collisions on the slopes and what to do about it, from forming citizens' patrol posses to segregating skiers and boarders.

Any problem that results in deaths is a very real and pressing problem. News reports of people dying from collisions are not good for snow sports marketing.

A helmet will only get you so far in a situation such as the one you describe with Hugh.

Is it just me, or is the perp usually a snowboarder? I know the last time I got leveled by another body, the body belonged to a snowboarder (in a clinic I was leading, no less!).
post #3 of 8
Sorry to hear of your lose.

The story is as inspiring as it is sad.

My Director is 75, and is hard to keep up with. I hope all of us can be like our heroes.
post #4 of 8
....... ......... :

Thanks for posting that. The true value in the intreped folks like him is that they give the rest of us something positive to look forward to.
post #5 of 8
Some people die old but never really live.
Sounds like Hugh got a 'full lifes ticket' and made the most of it. He's probably up there now telling Churchill & Roosevelt a skiing story.

DB
post #6 of 8
IHTS

My prayers and praise go to you and your team. I sure hope we are all as inspired as you and those around you.
post #7 of 8
Both devastating and inspiring! This weekend, There was a man at Okemo who had a patch that said "80 plus ski club". I walked up to him and told him that one day I wanted to be in his club. He looked at the women's group I was with, and said "I'd like to be in your club now!"

My thoughts are with you!
post #8 of 8
LOL, LM. That's the kind of 80+ skier I want to be.

I slide occasionally with a guy who now is a 90+ skier (I've known him for more than 25 years). He always smiles and there's always a twinkle in his eye.

Sorry for your loss, IHTS. It's consoling that there can be inspiration in such a case.
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