The excitement of my first powder day of the season was unlike any other feeling. The cold wind bit through my beanie and big fat flakes fell softly from above to settle upon the growing piles of champagne snow.
I was in heaven.
1 week ago we had been on the beach in New Zealand. Now after a few flights we were enjoying our first day of the ski season snowboarding at Marmot Basin Ski Area high in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.
How not to Snowboard at Marmot Basin Ski Area
I had been dreaming of my first ski season for years and had visions of ripping apart the ski runs every day while watching my progress skyrocket.
And with that first day my dream had begun….
The more runs we did the more confident I became. Cole tried to warn me to take it slowly because on the first day of the season it’s not such a good thing to push it to the limits. If you know me then you will know that I am a pretty competitive person so I kept on pushing…
One minute I was going over smooth rollers, quietly pretty impressed with myself. The next, I was sitting in a ragged pile of soft snow with a thumping headache and stars in my eyes.
The nose of my board had caught in a lump of snow catapulting me in to the ground before I could react. I landed heavily on my head and shoulder before coming to a rest in a wrecked heap of gloves, limbs, goggles and beany.
Once I had established that I could move all my limbs by wriggling my fingers and toes I went on to see if any parts of me were badly damaged.
One flex of my right shoulder and I knew immediately that there was something seriously wrong with my collarbone. Now I do not profess to be an expert in the medical arena, but after four broken arms through my childhood I am fairly certain I know a broken bone when I feel it. And this was most certainly broken.
The initial shock of the crash subsided and the pain took over by coursing through my body. Tears sprung to my eyes but were quickly forgotten as I realised I was alone. Cole had been ahead and had not seen me fall.
Fortunately everyone looks after everyone on the ski field and the next person along waved down a ski patroller on one of their many spot checks. Just my luck he was a rookie and it was his first day on the job (to his credit he was amazingly calm). I asked him if he could check the break and in his concentration he must not have heard my next question:
“Is the bone coming out of the skin?”
To which he responded “ooooh yea” which immediately set of a rush of panic.
It took a few minutes to calm me down and establish that it was not in fact out of the skin and he was actually just exclaiming it was broken.
Cole turned up worried out of his skin after I had not shown up at the bottom of the run. He had raced to the top and flown down the hill checking the run we had been on before spotting the sharp contrast of the red and black of the ski patroller huddled over a patient through the falling snow.
He knew straight away it would be me.
It must have been a slow day because within 15 minutes I was quickly surrounded by no less than 5 ski patrollers bringing oxygen, 2 backboards, 2 sleds and a neck brace.
One piece of advice I would give to any unfortunate soul who ends up in this situation… DO NOT tell ski patrol you hit your head unless you think you have done some serious damage.
Instead of being taken down on the ski-doo I was strapped in to the patrollers toboggan and rushed to an ambulance. At least they got their priorities right because the ambulance staff wouldn’t load me until Cole had handed over his Credit Card to pay the upfront $300 ambulance ride to hospital.
In the end it was not only my pride that was hurt (great first impression with my new colleagues) but it also severely hurt my bank account – actually make that Coles bank account. The Ambulance, X-ray and Doctor fees ran in over $5,000.
In addition I missed the first half of my dream season, spent a lot of time watching crappy girly movies while everyone was out boarding and landed myself with a huge bump in my collarbone.
Suppose it could have been worse and I could have ended up in hospital for a month at the end of the ski season with a $30,000 bill like Cole…
But that’s a completely different adventure for another time.