“Dear God, please let him be ok.”
I had just muttered that phrase to myself as I watched Ross Imburgia get up and stumble to the top of the stairset, emitting a sound that was somewhat of a guttural scream mixed with terse grunts. Almost a half second earlier, Ross had come to rest 3/4 of the way up from the bottom of the stairway, winching into an up rail which was to be his last hit of the night as he had already landed both a 270 & 450 out. One more photo.Ross Imburgia. Up Rail via winch.
Not quite closing it out, Ross came off onto the stairs, catching the tips of his skis. Double ejecting, he failed to let go of the winch handle. In an instant, he went from 35 mph to 0 as his momentum carried him into the stairs chest & stomach first, his legs compressing behind him. Immediately Meathead Film’s Geoff McDonald as well as Andy Parry and Will Wesson were at his side. I stood at my vantage point for a couple moments, compressing the mental images of what was one of the worst falls I’ve seen in person and then packed up the tripod, slung my camera onto my shoulder and hurried over to Ross. When I got there, the group were already joking about the crash, albeit Ross had still not decided to get up, choosing to rest for a few more minutes on the ground. I snapped a few more photos. Ross, still in pain, eventually picked himself up on the ground. The crew broke down the lights, winch and generator and headed out.
We stopped at a gas station, looked for an open liquor store and drove back to my apartment in Arlington. We watched the remaining hour of a movie, ate some late dinner and had a few of the remaining beers in my fridge that was leftover from our low key New Year’s celebration the night before. I said goodnight and crawled into bed a little past 1:00 a.m.
The light came on in my room and Geoff was standing in my doorway. Cell to his ear, he asked me the address of my apartment. He was giving information to the 911 dispatcher while trying to fill me in on what had just happened a few minutes before:
Ross had awoken dizzy with his ears ringing and was severely nauseous. The group had made the call to take him to the hospital and as Andy had helped Ross out to the front porch and down the stairs to Geoff’s car, he had passed out.
Disorientated from just waking up, I found Ross sitting on my front porch steps with Will and Andy, head in hands. A police cruiser arrived in a matter of 3 or 4 minutes. It took a few explanations by Geoff to the cop for him to understand how Ross had been injured, not grasping why we would have been skiing on a handrail. A fire engine, another cruiser and finally the ambulance arrived, filling the intersection in front of my apartment. My 80 year old Greek landlady had been awoken by the lights and was screaming out the 2nd floor window in heavily accented English, wondering what was happening as Ross was packed up on the stretcher and loaded into the ambulance. Almost as quickly as they had arrived, the emergency crews departed and the din and lights subsided.
Geoff, Andy, Will and I sat in my living room, going over what had just occurred.
This is the first of a series of “Photo of the Day.” I will post a photograph each day (from the previous day) for the remainder of the year. I hope you enjoy it.