Well I'm at home lying in bed with a broken rib, a black eye and numerous cuts and bruises after being wiped out on the first day of a level 2 instructor course.....by one of the other course participants.
Witnesses to the collision were quite certain that I was the innocent party. I was skiing short radius turns down one side of a wide piste fully under control. I didn't even see the guy who hit me, he came full speed into my side after seemingly losing control. He swerved between two other skiers on the piste and broadsided me. It's also clear that he set off down the piste after me and was travelling much faster (he was skiing on 25m radius GS skis, whereas I was on 12m radius slalom skis). He was therefore overtaking me and should have kept clear.
Well, that was not a happy experience but unfortunately it's something I saw on the level one instructor course I went on last year when another course participant lost control and crashed off the side of the piste. He only injured himself.... The basic problem seems to me to be that a minority of participants on this type of course seem to feel obliged to show off to other course participants how fast they can ski. I can ski pretty fast myself, but obviously I use some discretion and only let rip on empty pistes or race tracks.
Does anyone else have experience of this kind of macho behaviour on instructor courses? Maybe I have just been unlucky. How would you deal with this kind of situation if you were the course leader? I don't know what action the leader took after the accident. Obviously his first priority was first aid, determining what injuries I had and how to get me down from the mountain. What he did after that I don't know.
One or two other reflections:
I took a very heavy blow to the side of the face/head. I am glad I was wearing a helmet. My skiing goggles shattered under the impact but quite possibly saved my eye from serious damage. I will never ski without eye protection ever again! I was also wearing a back protector, whether that helped I am not sure - where my rib is broken is just outside of the region that the protection covers.
I had already observed that he was skiing recklessly. I am kicking myself that I wasn't more careful to keep out of his way. If and when I re-do the course I will (a) always make sure I am above anybody I feel is skiing unwisely. and (b) talk to the course leader and ask him/her to make sure that people ski sensibly.
I will also be writing to the educational director of the organisation which ran the course. I haven't quite decided what to say, I want to be constructive, not just get angry. One thing I am definitely going to suggest is that the course leader should hold a safety briefing at the start of each days skiing. He/she should also make it clear that skiing responsibly and setting a good example is a critical duty of a ski instructor and that participants risk failing the course if they ski recklessly.