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ski injuries: what were they and what they taught you?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

just thought it'd be interesting to hear of people's skiing injuries and what ''silver linings'' you got out of them going forward to become a better (more aware) skiier ....sure I'm not naive enough to think that all injuries can bring 'enlightenment' but hopefully the majority can.


my own injuries: broken rib and in another instance, fractured rib.


lessons learned from falls leading to broken rib and fracture: more core strength engagement needed....learning better positioning...having more appropriate skis to suit both the conditions and my abilities (mine were too narrow waisted and too stiff for my lesser abilities), not skiing relaxed enough and enjoying it in new experience of a big dump in  offpiste/ungroomed (again: conditioning and lack of technique/proper ski equipment)...


was talking to one level 4 coach who told me one time he just looked back quickly while going down a moderate hill to see who was behind him (heck we've all done that i'm sure) and in that 1-2 split second time that he had moved away his awareness from the trail in front of him one of his skis hooked something and he had such a bad fall that his kneecap was shattered---he was out for the season and underwent numerous ops.

Edited by canali - 11/29/10 at 6:28am
post #2 of 29

Other than minor cuts and bruises:

1) Concussion long ago, knocked out when I hit a wind ridge doing about 70  that looked like a roller in the flat light until it was too late, came to in the air in time to get my skis under me, but not in time to get them pointed down hill.  Learned not to go full speed without pre-running the course. Crazy Kids!nonono2.gif


2) Pole plant at imprudent speed broke my wrist, not a proper pole plant, mind you, I just meant to give myself a little extra nudge to make the next gate (actually the race was over and the gates taken down, but the course was still there nice and icy and rutted and all so I had to ski it).  Learned I don't need no schtinking pole plants! 


EDIT: may have broken thumb last year or the year before (funny how the years sort of run together when you get old).  Learned that emergency room wait times are too long. I made sure everything was lined up straight and went home after 4 hours; didn't want to wait another 11 for nothing. 


Edited by Ghost - 11/28/10 at 11:54am
post #3 of 29

I spent almost all of last season on the injured reserve and will spent at least the early part of this season still mending. There have been other injuries over the years though far more minor...what I've learned is that if you're going to play hard you may have to pay the price from time to time.  Enjoy every minute of everything you do.

post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 

as per emergency waits, well at whistler I think there are 3 medical clinics, so the wait time is next to nil...

love that 'express drive-thru' tempo vs any big city hospital emergency ward wait (ay vay)


FYI: whistler also in the summer converts many trails to it's bike paths...it also has a bike park, for stunts, tricks etc.....so when I was in the emergency ward (getting my rib looked at and seeing some of the other skiers/boarders brought in) I asked if this is typical...the dude looked up and said 'man you should be here in the summertime when they open up the bike park...we nickname it the trauma park due to all the injuires that come through here" (yikes...I think that I'll stick with skiing).nonono2.gif

Edited by canali - 12/8/10 at 9:46pm
post #5 of 29

Broke leg.  Learned: don't ski on old boots or bindings.  (The boots were newish, the bindings were 7 years old and the plastic disintegrated in the bumps.)

post #6 of 29

Been a few, I'll just share this one:


Injury - almost died.


Lesson - Even if you fall 400 feet above the cliff, in icy conditions you may go off it.

post #7 of 29

Like the other threads like this I'll say I've been pretty lucky and haven't been hurt beyond being able to ski the next day since I gave up skiing competitively.  However I learned at the end of last season that after 40 your everything is more brittle and less flexible even if you do work out and stretch.   Things that used to be typical motions and minor impacts can pop something and take you out with no warningfrown.gif


So, enjoy every minute on the snow.  Skit happens, especially when you get older...

post #8 of 29

Torn ACL, MCL, and Meniscus


Lesson? Never stop paying attention on the easy runs. Side-swiped by an out of control snowboarder on the bunny hill

post #9 of 29

If you can avoid really treacherous conditions, like powder over moguls in flat light, or really strange terrain in flat light, you will stay healthy longer. hyper extension of the knee can often result from falls in those treacherous conditions.

post #10 of 29


Lesson: i can do 270's but not 360's

Dislocated shoulder with minor rotator cuff injury

Don't just caught a tip in some crud and went face first, elbow hit first, and dislocated, popped back in right away but it was definantly out

Small meniscal tear

Dont do jumps to flat landings

post #11 of 29
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

If you can avoid really treacherous conditions, like powder over moguls in flat light, or really strange terrain in flat light, you will stay healthy longer. hyper extension of the knee can often result from falls in those treacherous conditions.

I resemble that remark!  ;-)


Last Sunday I had a group lesson at Breckenridge with a great instructor and picked up on a few things that really seemed to click for me. Tuesday afternoon I was able to get out for a few late runs before the lifts closed, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that much of what I'd picked up on Sunday was still with me - sometimes good things stick, and sometimes they float away.


Anyway, I'd gotten in a few runs and my skiing really felt smooth and effective,  and I was feeling confident. A little too confident, in hindsight, as it was snowing and blowing and the light was flat. The wind had really picked up, and I'd already decided it would be my last run, when on the way down I made a sharp turn right into a dip I didn't see, and, bam, next thing I knew I stuffed a tip hard and was cartwheeling at least once, maybe twice. Can't say for sure, but I do clearly recall thinking "Oh Sh*t!!" as during one revolution my left ski buried hard but didn't release. As I settled and gathered my wits I realized both skis were indeed still on! Fortunately nothing broken, but I wrenched the hell out of my knee, and it hurt pretty bad. I was able to ski gingerly down and limp home, and immediately started the RICE treatment and perusing Epic to see what I might expect. Frightening! Lots of tales of torn ACL's, PCL's, MCL's, surgery, out for the season! Lions, and tigers, and ... BEARS! OH MY!!


Long story short lots of RICE, RICE, Baby, and got a recommendation for a local Doc and saw her yesterday. Good news is nothing torn, just a strained MCL and some minor swelling in the back of the knee. I was fitted with a big mofo knee brace (surprisingly comfortable!)  for lateral support and given a green light to proceed, reasonably, with all activities, including skiing! Yea!! Got out today for a few runs - knee felt fine. Skied very tentative, but that's probably a good thing as I just wanted to get on the snow and see how things worked, and not aggravate anything. It'll take me some time to get back to where I was, but that's nothing compared to what I could be facing.


I learned from previous episodes in my life not to push an injury and run it into the ground and really screw myself. I did that with tennis elbow several years ago and ended up having to lay off tennis for almost an entire year! Sometimes you gotta lay back and take it easy for a while, no matter how bad you don't want to do that!


I learned from this injury that you can't ski in fear - you grow by pushing the envelope - but you have to be realistic about your skills, and, most importantly, you have to pay attention and respect the mountain and the conditions. I was so swept up in the euphoria of what felt like pretty good skiing that I didn't do that, and I paid the price. Again, feeling *very* fortunate to have gotten off as easy as I did.


Sobered and humbled, but still enthusiastic! Onward!!   ;-)


P.S. Had bindings checked yesterday and they are solid. Just one of those weird falls where the forces conspire to keep the skis on.


P.P.S. I also learned that boarders aren't so bad. A young guy who saw the show from behind stopped and patiently stayed with me for a couple minutes while I got it together and confirmed I could proceed on my own. Thanks, Dude, you have a deposit in the karma bank. I will certainly make one myself at the next opportunity.

post #12 of 29

yes, when the tip hooks up (any one of a hundred ways) sometimes the leg straightens out at the knee as the upper body comes forward past the hips. then you're screwed as there is no real force on the heel piece to release and you're about to move beyond your binding with your leg absolutely straight, make that hyper-extended (the swelling behind the knee, likely) lesson learned though, conditions are fundamental to skiing and have the largest effect on skills and safety. It was so gray and damp today, sticky uneven snow and flat light, that I just stayed in.

post #13 of 29

Hmm, maybe a case for that "Rocker S**T"? Less tip stuffing/hookupl, right?



post #14 of 29

I rode the Shogun (geisha) and on groomer and skier  packed never noticed the early rise tip, yet it works in powder. best of both worlds.

post #15 of 29

Tore my ACL completely and my MCL and LCL almost completely and tore some meniscus.  Not bad from one fall.  


Long story short I learned because I can hit big booters in the park doesn't mean I can hit little bumps for fun without paying full attention.  

post #16 of 29

I broke my wrist in Whistler cement in April 2009. I learned that I needed to get some lessons in skiing cement. (one ski season was all it took to get comfortable in it.)

post #17 of 29

In 94ish, Jay Peak opened around October 14.  It was so early I had to head there with Old Boot, and another friend, driving 12 hours on a Friday afternoon after work.  I learned that Opening in Vermont in October means skiing one run with 1000's of others on a vertical skating rink.  So hard in fact that after an easy skidded fall, one push up with pole in hand that didn't quite upright me, so a second push up, with just a little more pressure on the hand with the pole still in it, not quite stopped in momentum meant feeling the ski pole crush the thumb bottom joint against the hard ice as my body finally came upright on the hill from the slight push up.  This was not brittle old bones.  After skiing a couple more times on the ice rink we headed the 12 hours home, so I could go to a Canadian hospital and have my thumb x-rayed to discover it was indeed broken and worked with it that way for 8 weeks, sport a slightly crooked thumb still (doctor wanted to re-break it on week 4 but that would have meant I'd be out of commission for part of the real ski season) and learned I should be more patient and wait until there's at least a few runs open.  That was the earliest I have ever skied in a year and I was fully healed (though as the doctor says, very slightly off set), by the real ski season in Ontario and started teaching on December 15th as usual.


That is my only ski injury to date, *knocking on wood*.

post #18 of 29

During High School years, on New Years Eve, headered into a pine tree while skiing for a camera.  Came out with branches sticking out of my face and lots of blood.  Got off of the mountain to the emergency room, they did the shave and stitch thing, and ended up looking a bit like Frankenstein that night.  Showed up at the dates door and she suddenly did not feel so good.


Learned this is a great way to get rid of a girlfriend you just are not that into.

post #19 of 29

I hurt myself twice last year in Utah, and both times it was a combination of flat light and fear  -- which led me to skiing that I knew was wrong while I was doing it, but I couldnt seem to stop myself.


The first time I was coming down a steep open face and I couldnt see.  (We were doing fine in the trees, but the kids wanted to see what the other side of Brighton was like).  Not being able to see made me get my weight way back, and make bad, hesitant, lurching turns.  On one "turn" my tails got caught -- I didn't even fall down, but I heard/felt my knee make a weird sound.  Fortunately it was pretty minor - I skied the rest of the week, and over the summer it pretty much went back to feeling normal.


The other injury was pure stupidity.  We were doing a guided tour at Snowbird with lots of traversing, I was getting tired, and once again the light was very flat.  Near the end of the day, I started feeling nervous about the same traversing we'd been doing all day.  I started having a lot of trouble keeping my skis in the traverse tracks.  (Experimenting the next day, I figured out that the reason, once again, was because I was getting my weight back.  That's the subtle, indirect way fear gets you.) So anyway, while trying to catch up to the group I jammed my shovel into the uphill wall on the traverse track, my ski went flying (it wound up in a tree), and I tore my calf muscle.  It was a minor tear, but took about 6 months to heal completely.


So two lessons -- if that voice in your head tells you that you are skiing like crap, listen to it.  And more directly, keep your weight forward.


Just a couple of days ago I realized what may be the reason flat light bothers me so much.  I had an eye exam, and the doctor said, "Wow, I'm amazed you see as well as you do..... with those huge cataracts in both eyes!"

post #20 of 29
When I was 14 I was riding big long ski's, racing a buddy, just bombing the hill when the run dropped of. I said oh shit and tried to stop, instead I had a massive yardsale except my right ski didn't let go and twisted my leg hard - full length spiral tibia fracture = 3 months in a full leg cast and one month in a half cast.

The silver lining is now Im 24 and nothing remotely as serious since. I dont crank down my bindings and every time shit gets hairy I take a moment to remember what my leg looked like/smelled like after 3 months in that cast. A lesson learned.
post #21 of 29

after a tumble I learned not to have a metal flask in my pocket....bruised rib for a month. Now I just carry a little plastic 2sipper! Another time..last run of the day (when most injuries occur naturally!!) going all out down a steep portion, my tips crossed (can anyone say ouch!) I did a spectacular imitation of Superman flying, hit the ground...several times...... and I suppose I broke  my thumb but never did anything about it. So...I learned never-ever-ever...to cross my tips!

post #22 of 29

Lesson #1: Don't wear boots that are too big and try to navigate bumps made by snow guns like jumps. (Injury: Bad Case of Shin Bang)

Lesson #2: Don't wear boots that are too tight if you value your toes. (Injury: Lost Right Big Toenail)

Lesson #3: If there is a sudden drop and you're going through a mogul field don't assume you can stop right before the last mogul when ice is involved. You will start as Superman and end up one hundred feet from your equipment with a sore body. (Injury: Strained Rotator Cuff)


Well that covers last season nonono2.gif

post #23 of 29

Injury: Dislocated left shoulder & torn rotator cuff on right.


Lesson 1: It is very difficult to self-arrest with a dislocated shoulder (hence the tear)


Lesson 2: It is extremely bad form to talk your good friend into taking a personal day off and then get injury on the first run of the day. 


Lesson 3: It takes until the end of the season for the friendly ridicule to stop.

post #24 of 29

In 2000, I fell on a patch of ice and hit my head on it.

A few minutes later, I hit my head again while getting onto the lift (something I've never done before or since).

I was smart enough to realize I was a bit out of it, and I went and sat in the lodge for the next 2 hours while my buddies continued to ski.  But then I stupidly decided to go back out.  First run: the easiest green on the hill.  Felt good.  Second run:  a blue-black that was right on par with my skill level at the time.  I think I blacked out, because I don't remember falling at all, I just remember all of a sudden I was on the ground with a broken shoulder.


Lessons learned:  1. Wear a helmet.  2. Know my limits.

post #25 of 29

If you lose your balance while standing still in a mogul field don't just let yourself fall randomly, thinking it'll be easier to get back up than to figure out in a split second what force you're trying to counteract.  An ACL reconstruction and an entire missed season followed by a second minor surgery taught me that lesson.

post #26 of 29

Stage 4 separation of the shoulder, compressed neck and concussion. Learned a few lessons. First, don't fly off a 50 foot drop by yourself: Putting your shoulder back together, using your jacket as a sling, and getting off the mountain is no fun without somone to complain to about the pain.  Second, never transition from speed through trees to a white out big air opportunity in foggy conditions. Last, off season rehab can often be avoided if you leave the airborne heroics to the kids. . .  Most of all, if you are tired on your last line of the day, take it easy.  


Second major injury: broken wrist and thumb, and ejected the thumb bone from the had (had to be fixed with surgury).  Lesson learned, if you take your glove off while blood is pouring out, and part of your thumb bone falls out of the glove, try to stay calm and not look suprised a hell. If you acomplish this last one, let me know. I failed.

post #27 of 29
Originally Posted by ScottWeber View Post

Second major injury: broken wrist and thumb, and ejected the thumb bone from the had (had to be fixed with surgury).  Lesson learned, if you take your glove off while blood is pouring out, and part of your thumb bone falls out of the glove, try to stay calm and not look suprised a hell. If you acomplish this last one, let me know. I failed.

I just read that and failed.

post #28 of 29

Don't ski closed trailsredface.gif

post #29 of 29
Thread Starter 

just came back to this post a few wks later to read up on the additional 20 postings (thanks).


but sheesh, words like 'war zone' and 'triage' just spring to mind upon reading the carnage that can happen eek.gif..


that said, however, my hat goes off to all of us injured who got back on the horse--albeit a bit smarter the next time around.

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