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1988 Val d’Isere / Tignes

After a terrific lunch, my friends and I returned to an off-piste area we had skied that morning. On a traverse across the steep slope, I slipped, lost my skis and couldn’t stop sliding. Digging my heels into the snow launched me into a forward somersault. FINALLY, I came to a stop, only to start sliding again! In all, I slid about 350 yards. Nothing broken but lots of black and blue. It was 1988, and I was much younger. Had it happened in 2022, I’m not sure I’d have survived the slide of my life.

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7 Comments

  1. Richard Kavey says:

    I had a similar horrifying experience on the High Traverse at Alta in the 1970’s. I have no idea what caused me to fall (perhaps an unseen tree root) and have no idea what caused me to stop after a few hundred yards sliding head first in through an expanse filled with boulders, rock bands and a few trees. When I picked myself up the shovel of one of my fiberglass-metal skis was broken off. I was very lucky. I no longer ski traverses at GS speeds!

  2. I remember that High traverse. I know what you mean

  3. G Stan Brown says:

    I took a lesson at Silverton, Colorado. After it was needed, the instructor stated that when I fall and lose my skis I am supposed to flip over on my stomach and dig in with my hands so that I will be able to have my boots below me and dig in with my toes. That is an able construction worker maneuver.

  4. I was at a South American resort…Las Lenas in Argentina. The slope was steep and slick and I went down and slid. No amount of turning, digging, whatever-ing was stopping me. But I was with a guide and he rocketed down the slope in front of me and let me crash (harmlessly to both of us) into him.

  5. Michael Hudson says:

    In 1975 I took a break from my Peace Corps teaching job in Liberia, West Africa. I headed to Innsbruck to ski as I knew the Olympics were to be held there the next year. The downhill was being set up and I snuck onto the course to get a taste of what it might be like to be an Olympian. I did pretty well (with quite a few extra turns) until the tuck into the last turn. I faced a field of mud. I flew out of my skis and tumbled to a stop. Franz Klammer had nothing to fear from this novice. On the way back to town I noticed people staring at me. In a store mirror I saw that half of my body was covered in mud. I was not a good PR image for Innsbruck

  6. In 1982 I was climbing up the main bowl at Tuckerman Ravine, Mount Washington New Hampshire. My skis were on straps tied to my shoulders. I got to a point where the icy snow face was too hard to kick steps in it and go any higher. I was held on by the tips of my boots and my ski poles with my body pressed against the snow face. I tried going to the right where I saw some snow to put my skis on. First the tip of one boot came out of the snow and then the tip of the other boot came out. I fell and slid about 650 vertical feet before I stopped. My skis, gloves, poles, goggles and glasses were a laundry sale when I came where I stopped. I got up to gather my gear. People on the lunch rock applauded. One guy said at the bottom I looked like a ragdoll going 40 miles an hour. I broke a rib, tore an MCL in my knee, tore my calf muscle and bruised my arm. I tried skiing again but it hurt too much to turn because of the MCL damage. The hardest part was hiking down to the bottom of the mountain with 50 pounds on my back on a snow covered, slippery, icy mountain trail. Fortunately, I didn’t hit the lunch rocks or I wouldn’t be telling this tale.

  7. I appreciate tuckermans but if a lift doesn’t take me up and gravity on my skis guide me down, I am not doing it! Check out next week’s issue.

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