Most skiers have time off the mountain. Whether it’s injuries, bad conditions or other commitments. Now most of us are missing one of the best times of the year: Spring skiing! The joy of skiing mixed with warmer weather and longer days. I wanted to write this article, to reassure you that, enforced, time off skis will only increase your love for messing around with skis on your feet.First day back from the hospital I had 'try' the T Hall's I got a couple of weeks before the fall!
I live in Chamonix, France. Maybe you’ve been, seen it in movies, heard about the legendary lines or maybe you’ve never even heard about it. That’s not important for this story, just know that I see snow-covered mountains out of the window, every day, and I heard yesterday that someone was arrested by the police, in a helicopter, for ski touring.
To keep a long story short, I used to spend winters in the mountains and summer on the beach. In November 2010, I was between seasons and I happened to be in London. A good friend of mine invited me to a party.
I went and I’m not crystal clear on the details, but basically, I met a girl, I probably said something about skiing, climbed over a fence, walked on a corrugated plastic roof, over a covered walkway. The plastic broke and I fell 26ft through it onto the cobbled street below.
When I woke up from a six-week-coma I could only really open my eyes and look around me. My left side was paralyzed, I couldn't even sit up and I couldn't talk. In my head, my thoughts and stuff hadn't changed, but my vocal cords didn't work. I had broken my arm, messed up my shoulder and broken my skull a bunch of times in the fall. My Cerebellum –the bit of the brain that coordinates voluntary movements such as posture, balance, coordination, and speech—was damaged. I had got myself a Traumatic Brain Injury (which I thought was called a catastrophic brain injury!)
I couldn’t really move, but it had been over six weeks since the fall, so I never really had any pain. So, I, genuinely, didn’t know why they wouldn’t let me ski. I couldn’t sit up in bed without help, so they (Doctors, nurses, everyone.) definitely had pretty sound reasoning.
I was in hospital, in England, for more than seven months. I was in a neuro-rehab center where most of the other patients had suffered strokes. I was 23 and the next youngest person was in his mid-forties. When I wasn’t doing physio, occupational or Speech & Language therapy, I had was a little TV to keep me entertained. I had a few DVDs, to give me a tiny taste of what I was craving: Seven Sunny Days, CLAIM, In Deep, Every Day Is a Saturday, Eye Trip, Rastafaride 7…
I watched those movies and wanted so badly to be where they were. It didn’t matter that before the accident I (like 99.9% of the human race) didn’t quite control my skis quite as well as Mr. Thovex. That’s the beauty of not being allowed to ski, in my head I pretty much was Candide!Back on skis! It might have been indoors in England, but I was just happy to be sliding on (fake) snow!
I got back on skis a year and a day after the fall and I can say that was one of the happiest hours of my life. Yes, I wasn’t as good as I was --even now I have to stick to the pistes, so there are still plenty of descents that are way off limit for me—but skiing genuinely was, and still is, easier than walking for me. This article is not about my recovery, it’s about how we should try to take positives from everything we face.
Hopefully, doctors and scientists will get a handle on this pandemic, without too many more fatalities. I don’t want to belittle what the world is going through and obviously, skiing is pretty low down on people’s list of priorities now, but if it’s what you love, then although this time is probably frustrating. Maybe watch a few old movies, think about tricks you’ve almost got or tricks you want to try. You might have planned a trip to Europe, Japan, America, Canada… don’t worry, no one’s taking your fresh tracks.The first season back on skis
When restrictions are lifted and we are allowed to get back on the mountains, we might have to wait for next winter. You, hopefully, will be able to pick up where you left off and appreciate every minute on skis, even more than you did before. I know I will, and this is the 2nd time this has happened to me. Only this time, I can share the experience with everyone else on the hill and that’ll be worth the wait.
Here's the video about my recovery, If even worldwide quarantine doesn't make you want to read all that!