The End of Ski Season

Skier carving a turn off piste
Image via Wikipedia

You won’t believe this.

Last Thursday morning my 72 year-old ski bud who I ski with at Copper Mountain a lot called me at the condo. He and his wife had gone to Steamboat for a couple of days early in the week, he to ski, she to relax. On his first run he got stuck in deep snow taking a shortcut through trees. He over exerted himself, hyper-venilated, and was ill. He was sledded off the mountain and the medical clinic said he had a small heart attack. He was air-lifted to Denver and scheduled for an angiogram and possible stents. He has subsequently found he does not need stents for now but will take a variety of medicines for his heart and blood pressure. He was released from the hospital late Sunday.

That same Thursday morning I later go to Copper Mountain for my 42nd day of skiing in my 40th ski season. I’m walking to the bus stop in the outer parking lots and my right foot slips on what I see is ice under the snow. My left leg goes straight backwards in my unforgiving, non-slipping ski boot and I feel a shooting pain down my left ankle on the outside. I get up but it hurts like hell and I can hardly stand on it. I hobble to the bus, get to Center Village, and a Ski Ambassador gets me a ride to the medical clinic to get it checked.

X-rays show I have fractured the outside of my left ankle (lateral malleolus fracture of the distal fibula). Lovely. I get a strapped, inflatable boot for the foot and lower leg and the ski patrol gives me a ride to my car. Since it is a left foot injury, I haven’t taken any meds, and I have an automatic shift car, I can drive. Prognosis is no surgery, 6-8 weeks to heal, on crutches with boot and frequent icing. I am to see my doctor in a week for followup x-rays.

Thursday afternoon I bundle up dog and laptop, set the condo thermostats to a safe lower level, make sure the coffee is off, and drive to Denver. And here I am.

Crutches are cumbersome. Man was not meant to walk like a three-legged stool. I’m “fine”, and just taking an occasional Advil, but I’ll be taking it easy for awhile. I have my doctor’s appointment tomorrow and plan to ask for a referral to the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic (sports medicine) for a double check.

The doctors and nurses at Copper Mountain all said I should make up a much better story/fish tale for my injury, so I’ll work on that.  Hmmm, I was skiing the Patrol Chute, or Tucker Mountain (2 extreme runs at Copper that I definitely will never venture into) and the snow started to slide.  I skied off to the side and fell over a short cliff, missed the rocks, somersaulted 6 times, and then….  Uhhh…

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