Friday, February 14, 2003


I just had a pair of horrific wipeouts. Yesterday, as part of the Summit Expression Session--a confluence of about ten percent of all the carving snowboard riders in the U.S.--I went night snowboarding at Keystone. It was really strange, carving turns under the moon, with streetlights set up to illuminate the runs. And I was trying out a board that was way fast, a little too way fast apparently. I was making turns down a pretty steep pitch, when I went a little wide and hit this one mogul--the only one in sight--and got a little bit of air. This normally would be no big deal, but it gave me too much extra speed, plus put me perilously close to the side of the run. I threw the board over to turn it, but couldn't pull it around fast enough... and over the edge of the run I went. As I was in the air, about twelve feet up, sideways, I had lots of time to think. Things like "I guess life has been pretty good up to now," and "too bad I'm not strapped into my hang glider at the moment" and less pleasant things, like the most common last words of millions: "Oh Shit!" I managed to land mostly board side down in the bottom of the gully off the side of the run, but it didn't matter; the board dug into the deep snow and I went through a dramatic sequence of flailing cartwheels. On the first time around, I planted my head into the snow and left my goggles down there. (I know this because some accident reconstruction uncovered the goggles about a foot deep at the bottom of a head sized hole eight feet down from the initial impact crater.) A few tumbles later and I could see trees jumping in and out of my field of view. Shit, I was about to pull a Bono--I braced for impact. But I managed to slide to a halt just before the line of trees, at which point I began damage assessment. I stared off into the night--alive, check; on a rather pretty night actually. Amazingly, given my speed and altitude, nothing appeared to be broken--I had gotten really lucky and crashed into a deep patch of snow. The only things that seemed tweaked were both feet and ankles. Ow. They must of gotten badly torqued around on the initial impact. But I couldn't hear or feel any bones grating, just soft tissue damage. So I painfully skidded my way down the mountain and limped home, on both feet. Ever try limping on both feet? Pretty pathetic. I figure I'm off my board for a week to heal. But hell, I'm supposed to go on a snow hiking trip tomorrow. Lots of ibuprofen and some ankle wraps I guess.

The second wipeout is going to take much longer to heal from. A and I broke up. The seeds of it were planted very early on in our relationship, so it wasn't out of the blue. I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that she was unhappy with a couple of my less than charming qualities--things that weren't going to change about me anytime soon, like my negative feelings towards marriage--and I decided I was just going to enjoy her company while I had it and not worry too much about its eventual absence. Kind of like not worrying too much about death--you know it's coming, but it's worse than useless to obsess over, and better to use it as a strong reason to enjoy life while you have it. Anyway, she finally decided I was never going to change and that she was better off without me in the long run--a struggle against what she felt--and we said a tearful goodbye. Not wanting to part, but doing it anyway. It sucks. She was my best friend and more. And she was the most wonderful girl I'm ever likely to meet. It is her way of dealing with things to cut off contact completely, which may be best for her moving on--and I respect that, but I hate it. Miss her.

Tomorrow I limp off into the woods for a few days. Should give me lots of time to be alone and think about stuff. Heh, as if that were unusual.

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