Day #45 was a long one. I woke up a little hungover, but fired up to ski a second powder day at Squaw Valley USA! The two day storm total was 22″ as we reached the resort. It was busier, but the Funi was running and the top half of the mountain was open. We took KT and made our way over to Headwall Express.
From the lift you could tell the wind had done it’s best to turn almost two feet of fresh into two inches of dense snow… aka chalk… aka Sierra Cement… aka Wind Buff… aka Hero Snow. The snow is perfect for big lines at high speeds. Zero visibility is not perfect for lines at any speeds. I got off Headwall in a white out. It felt like I made some fun turns, but my confidence took a huge hit when I found myself airborne off a previously unseen cat track. I landed backseat, felt my knee twinge and decided to spend the rest of the day avoiding a repeat scenario.
I persuaded the group to head over to Granite Chief, where the rocks and trees would help visibility and provide the snow some shelter from the wind. We skied a couple laps, jumping off rocks, and enjoying the best snow on the hill that morning. It was shaping up to be a pretty fun day until we chose to jump a small rock near the bottom of the lift.
Jason’t roommate, the least experienced skier in the group, went first, landing one of the bigger airs off the rock. Matt went next and stayed true to form for the trip as he picked out a smaller air and stomped it cleanly. I went next, dropped a big part of the rock, backslapped and cracked my hemet off two month old ice. I’m pretty sure I gave myself a concussion, which seemed like a big deal at the time, but was quickly forgtten as Jason took Matt’s line, fell awkwardly and couldn’t get up.
Long story short, he tore his Patellar Tendon on impact. And because I’m lazy, here’s the rest of the day with bullet points:
- We called ski patrol and dug a landing for a toboggan, then waited an hour for them to get there
- We put a splint on Jason’s leg, loaded him into the toboggan, and skied his gear to the lift
- After being ushered to the front of a hefty lift line, we loaded him onto the chairlift, then off the chairlift at the top and hooked him up to the snowmobile
- Then we carried him onto the Funitel, off the Funitel, onto a sled, and onto a gurney
- We waited a few hours for him in the ER, then drove him to his house in Truckee
- We packed up his gear, grabbed his dog, and drove him back to Park City
- We arrived back home at 2:30 in the morning
Jason went in for surgery the following Monday. His ACL and PCL were okay, but the Patellar Tendon is going to take a while to heal. He was forced to drop out of is spring semester of nursing school and will be in Park City for a few weeks. It’s a potentially ski career-threatening injury, not to mention baseball, mountain biking and all the working out he does. Tough break for Jason. Get better bud.
Not that fun of a day.