Last week I had my birthday off from work and one of my best friends decided to take the day off and ride with me. He’s an extremely busy guy and I’m lucky to get a couple days on the hill with him because of his crazy schedule. He’s also easily the most talented of my friends so most days with him are epic stokefests.
We rolled into the parking lot at 8:45 and got a prime parking spot right right next to the lift which never happens that late. It was an empty weekday with plenty of snow left considering it’s April. We hopped on the lift right at 9, unloaded and headed towards the terrain park. There’s a fence at the entrance and my buddy popped over it as he barged into his first line of the day. I followed suit.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that I aired over this fence half a dozen times less than a week before and the coverage really wasn’t any different. I don’t really believe in blaming shit on your gear but just as a side note, I was on a brand new set of reckoners I’d never ridden before and they are easily the softest skis I’ve ever owned. I leaned back to pop over the netting and the tails folded in half but didn’t really spring forward at all so I ended up catching my tips and going headfirst into the park. Totally my fault for not feeling out the skis before trying to air a 3-4ft fence the very first time riding them.
The fall didn’t hurt at all but as I was sliding, my inside edge caught the snow hard enough to actually eject out of my pivots. It fucking HURT. I felt like such a jackass potentially hurting myself on my birthday when the homie finally came out for his annual appearance. My dumbass stood up and tried to walk it off after a few minutes and even clicked back into my skis and rode down to meet him at the lift. It was painful but I was able to do it so I was hoping the chances of a serious injury were pretty low. I rode the entire day and when I got back, my knee started to swell up and it felt like someone stuck a knife in the inside of my patella.
Ive never seriously injured my knee but playing hockey my whole life, getting clipped knee-on-knee, and skiing aggressively left me with what docs said were “degenerative knees” a couple years ago. I’ve been afraid of this scenario for like a decade now and made the mistake of trying to heal on my own after this fall. Days went by, my brother who I rarely see made plans to come to my mountain and ride, so I didn’t want to go get a diagnosis out of fear they would tell me my seasons over which I know it is. My knee got to the point of not being able to bear any weight, it’s so swollen I can’t fully extend it, and the pain was waking me up at night so I finally went to urgent care. No break which I knew but now I’ve got an appointment with an orthopedic specialist this week because the doctor said there’s something wrong with my MCL. It’s either torn or seriously sprained so now I’m waiting on an MRI.
My brother still came here and even though I couldn’t ski with him, I went to the lodge and sat outside with a couple beers and enjoyed the spring weather. 2-3 years ago I would not have been able to sit there with no ski gear and just enjoy the mountain. I would have seen everyone else in their spring gaper outfits carving slush and it would have genuinely hurt my heart. But, somehow I was content just having a beer with my feet up at the lodge. I’m not sure if I’m getting older and my priorities are changing, or if that melancholy feeling that follows a sidelining injury just hasn’t set in yet. Either way, I’ve never been more mentally prepared for the off-season and recovery so that I can get back healthier and stronger next season.
Sorry for the lengthy post but I’m sitting around with a knee brace, told to stay off my feet, and trying to cope with the second season in a row being cut short after Covid last year. Cheers to everyone who’s season is already over and if you’re lucky enough to have some good days ahead of you, make sure you revel in that stoke for us on the sidelines!