Tag Archives: Skiing

Skiing Squaw Valley, and my newest injury


Skiing Squaw Valley, and my newest injury

Saturday, 25-Feb-2017


I went skiing in California!

Sarah and I had started skiing earlier this year, and I’ll be honest – I’d gotten pretty good, and was really starting to enjoy myself. Combine that with my friend Mike telling me all about how great skiing in California is, and that I hadn’t seen Mike for a while… well, I bought tickets and flew out. Rented get in Hood River, of course, which just added to the fun of flying. Yay huge bags!

I actually flew into Sac on Friday night, after a day of climbing with Sarah at the gym… I felt bad about running off, but she’d mentioned a desire to stay in Portland and see some friends of hers, so I figured that this would be a good excuse for us to have some individual adventures, and then catch back up the following week.


So I flew into Sac. Stayed at Mike’s place Friday night, and then drove out to Squaw Valley the next morning.

It was a drive. Mike and I hadn’t caught up in a while, and this drive definitely gave us time to catch up. What was normally a 2.5hour drive quickly turned into a 5 hour one, what with having to pull over to put on chains, be told that we couldn’t put chains on where we were (we were <5ft past one sign, but 10ft in front of another…), turn around, sit in more traffic, put on chains, then sit in more traffic, then get caught in some more traffic.


Then, after the traffic, we found out that the parking lot was full. So Mike, being amazing, dropped me off out front, and then went to get lunch while I got a few runs in.

By the time he got back, I’d done maybe half a dozen runs throughout the easy area, and was starting to feel pretty okay about Squaw. It was steep, and carved out, but definitely fun… and I was really looking forward to learning some tips and tricks from the ski extraordinaire hanging out with me.

Once Mike got a parking spot, we hit up the far side of the mountain, a lift run called Shirley. And that’s where I should have turned tail and run… it was all blues, but much steeper and more carved out than I was used to. In fact, the runs were mostly moguls… not something I’d ever dealt with before. But I gave it a shot, and our first run went pretty well.


Our second run didn’t.


I did the first half of the run well, and stopped for a quick breather about 70% the way down the run… before starting into that mogul field again. But this time, I didn’t hit them right. This time, I caught a ski, and went down.

My knee went another way. I screamed.

By the time I got down to Mike, shock was setting in. I couldn’t press down with my heel, and I was confident that I couldn’t ski out.

We asked a lift operator for a hand, and he quickly proved his incompetance by suggesting that I ski out… even going so far as to say that I needed to wait in line, and then ski down a green to get back to the lodge. Honestly, I’m like 90% certain that he was stoned… which I wouldn’t normally mind, but… you know… shock. Pain. Injured skier asking for help. Screw that guy.


So I walked away, and asked the next lift operator if he could help.

“Ohh god! Yeah man, get on this next chair, I’ll hold some folks back for you. What’s your name? I’ll call up, and ski patrol will be waiting for you”. THAT is how you react to someone saying that they’re in shock, and unable to ski out.

One snowmobile ride later I can’t put any weight on the knee at all, and I’m on a tram down to the urgent care area. Then two hours of waiting (1.5 hours of that in the outside waiting room), and then meeting a nurse for x-rays, and a doctor for a diagnosis.


Ruptured Anterior Cruciate Ligament.


The four words that every skiier, soccer player, footballer, or really any athlete fears. I was told that I was now a member of that club, and that I should go see an orthopedist for an MRI within two weeks. That I wouldn’t be able to walk for a month, and that recovery could take anywhere from six months to a year.

The rest of the night was blurred. I called loved ones, then ate a huge plate of nachos. Mike helped me carry my gear into the motel room, and I settled myself into the bed, trying to learn how to hold myself to keep the knee elevated, but not painful.

I guess I’ve got time to learn, though… we’ll see how recovery goes.

09-Feb-13 – New England blizzard/storm NEMO!


Saturday, 09-Feb


I’d been hearing all week about how horrible this storm was going to be. Every news outlet said that we’d be buried, and there was literally no milk to be found in any store. Eggs were gone, bread stored up. It was a bit ridiculous.

I didn’t believe it. The storm started on a Friday, and I had actually biked to and from work that day, running into nearly no trouble in either direction. It was actually a bit easier than normal, to be honest, thanks to the complete lack of traffic on the roads.

So when I woke up on Saturday, I wasn’t expecting too much snow to shovel. A quick look out my window seemed to confirm my thoughts, but I figured that I should do a quick check out the front door… you know, just to be certain.

And when I opened the door, I looked at a wall of snow.

Ok, not literally a wall, but it did come up to nearly waist height. It was a low-wall of snow. Marybe a cattle-fence-level high wall.

But either way, it meant a ton of shoveling had to be done. So I ate a light but hearty breakfast, clad myself in the armor of a New Englander (basically pure arrogance covered by a few layers of waterproof gear) and set in motion clearing the front.

I didn’t stop moving for nearly two hours, flinging the semi-sticky snow into massive piled on our front yard. I pressed forward until I’d cleared everything but the cars and the driveway around them, only stopping once to get a slightly better shovel from the back shed.

With my work for the day complete, I ate a quick second breakfast (it was barely after noon by this point) and went about getting ready for some snow-based adventures. Foremost of them was an event being held in Davis Square – an impromptu snowman making event.

When I arrived at Davis, on cross country skiis borrowed from Marla, I was met with dozens of people making some of the most intricate snowmen I’ve ever seen.

Truth be told there were only a few snow”men”, the snow not being very useful for pacing. Instead, there were tons of huge sculptures that had been carved from the fallen powder, ranging from octopi to hindu gods stretched out on the ground. There was even one section, where a drift had piled the snow high, where people had built an igloo city made up of nearly a dozen domes, all connected by small carved paths.

Overall though, my favorite sculpture was one made by nature herself (the real nature, not some hippy girl). It was simply a statue in someones garden, but the snow blanketing it was so perfectly arranged that it had the feel of some old and weary traveler making his way through a storm. (Ed Note: Shush. Ben’s allowed to be poetic sometimes)

Personally, I teamed up with a girl I’d met to decorate a trio of stone statues. Instead of covering them up, we used big hunks of ice from the pavement to graft wings onto their backs, transforming three dancers into three angels. It wasn’t fancy, but I was quite pleased with myself when it was done.

Once my work in Davis was done I pulled the skiis out of the snowbank and moved onward, deciding to do some exploring around Alewife and into the small paths nearby.

I only spent about an hour exploring the area, to be honest, but it was quite an adventure in that short time – the snow around Davis had been well packed down, but around Alewife no one had been through yet and I was laying down first tracks in nearly three feet of powder. Having Marla’s skiis helped a bit, since she’s a bit taller than me, but even so I had a bear of a time breaking through the untouched trailed. I had a blast.