Skiing accident ruins vaction plans, bone


My spring break plans were shattered almost as quickly as my left tibia.

I had planned to drive to Summit County, Colo. with a group of friends from K-State and ski several of the mountain-resorts in the area for three days. Then I was going to meet my family in Colorado and head south to Crested Butte, Colo., where I was going to ski another three days.

My plans were ambitious, but I was determined to make them work and thrilled at the prospect of skiing for six days.

I ruined these plans, however, only hours into my trip.

My Crash

When I came to a halt after sliding about 100 yards, mostly on my face, from where I originally crashed, I sat up and examined myself, and tried to locate my skis and ski poles, which were scattered over the slope between me and where I fell.

The crash jolted me but I could still recount the accident.

I was zooming down Breckenridge’s Peak 10 on a ‘run,’ which is now infamous to me, called Centennial. As I have done far too often in the past, I was flying down the run, flirting with the speed at which I was risking losing total control of my skis and my ability to avoid bone-jarring crashes.

As I tore down the slope like an idiot who did not know any better, my left ski hit a small but menacing chunk of ice. The ice knocked my boot out of its binding, and my ski fell off. For a split second, I continued down the mountain on one ski, until my left boot dug into the ground and torqued my body, from my leg up, until I fell to the ground.

Getting Fixed-up

As I sat on the snow collecting my thoughts, two considerate skiers brought me my skis and poles, which I lost in the fall.

I called a friend and told him I had crashed but was going to try to ski to the base to rest. When I tried to stand, I quickly found my left leg could not support any weight and was starting to throb. At that point, I called my friend again and told him that I would not be skiing anywhere and needed him to bring the Ski Patrol to me.

After the Ski Patrol respondent took me by sled to the Breckenridge Medical Clinic, I was quickly surrounded by several nurses and doctors who reacted in typical Colorado-fashion. “Dude, that looks like a pretty gnarly break,” one commented.

After getting x-rays of my leg, I indeed had a “gnarly break” of my left tibia. I was then loaded up on potent painkillers, like fentanyl, and taken by ambulance to St. Anthony Summit Medic Center, in Frisco, Colo.

The doctors at St. Anthony were able to set my bone without surgery, and put a cast on my left leg that reached from my toes to my upper thigh. I was trucked home a day later by my family, who dropped everything, including their own vacation plans, to take care of me.

Lessons Learned

What I regret most about my self-inflicted injury is not the pain or the cumbersome cast I’ll be wearing for months, but the fact that I ruined mine, and more importantly, my family’s vacation.

Living in Kansas, any days of skiing are hard to come by, and it will be almost a year before I will have the chance to go skiing again. This, however, will give me a chance to save money and plan for next year’s ski-trip. Look for me on the slopes next spring break; I’ll be the one skiing a little more cautiously than before.