Sunday, February 8, 2009

Skiing Injury.

In my four seasons of skiing, I have worked up from having never stood on skis before to easy advanced (black diamond) slopes being pretty manageable for me. I started skiing because my (then) boyfriend won a trip to Telluride, Colorado in March for his job, neither of us knew how to ski, and we both thought it would be sad to go on that trip still as novices. Though I've since axed the ex, I retain the skiing (and the taste for fine wines) that is the legacy of our almost two years together.

Skiing is hard to learn as an adult because you're more aware of how badly you could hurt yourself and you don't recover as quickly as twelve year olds do. A friend of mine once claimed you couldn't learn to ski after you learned the principles of physics. And to some extent, she's right. The motions of skiing (although actually in agreement with our basic understanding of the laws of gravity) feel counterintuitive at first. The last thing you want to hear as you're speeding toward the edge of the path that you are certain you will fly off of and down the mountain through the trees, is that you should turn yourself more in that direction, but that's what the darned ski instructor keeps shouting at you. (And it does work, in case you were wondering).

As difficult as it was for me to learn, and as frustrated I was with the process along the way, I've managed never to injure myself beyond minor bruises and the aches from working muscles infrequently worked by other exercises.

Until yesterday.

This weekend, I went to Phoenix Park in Gangwondo. I went there last year for Seollal. Although I continue to maintain that it is second-best to High1 Resort, I still had a great time skiing. The trip was arranged through Adventure Korea (an English-language tour company based in Seoul). My experience with them was much nicer for the weekend than it was last year, I think because the group was smaller and the trip was shorter. The trip included an afternoon pass and rental on Saturday, but we could purchase extra time for night skiing or Sunday morning. I got both (of course!).

Saturday was fine. I had a great time and helped Sarah tackled her first real full-intermediate level slope at night. Sunday morning I was the only person from my room hitting the slopes.

It began wondrously. There were very few people out at 8:30 a.m. The weather was very misty... until you got to the top of the mountain which was above the cloud cover. You could see the valley covered by the mist like a strange floating lake between the mountain peaks. I wished I'd brought my camera, but now I'm glad I didn't.

Because as I was tackling one of the more difficult intermediate slopes as a warm up for skiing the black diamonds, I took a nasty spill and pulled my shoulder so bad and it hurt so much, at first I thought I'd dislocated it. Even worse, I had one ski, but the other was about 50 feet... straight up the steep incline. And no one was around.

I struggled to get out of my other ski (not being able to use my left hand/arm at all, this was very difficult), and started hiking up the icy incline, when a kind snowboarder noticed the ski and that I'd fallen and retrieved the ski to me. He asked if I was ok, and I said yes, though my arm was still throbbing, because I could tell that my legs were fine. I got back in my skis, slid (very, very cautiously) down to the nearest cafe, where I felt it would be a fine time to break for breakfast.

I thought during breakfast about giving up and going back down to the lodge and resting some. But I still had three hours of skiing left. And I determined my arm wasn't broken, nor the shoulder dislocated. I stuck to easy and intermediate courses the rest of the day and had a grand time.

Travelling back to Daegu was rough on the shoulder, so by the time I returned home, I was ready to die, and a little afraid that it wouldn't recover in time for my Vietnam trip. But after a night's sleep and a little Advil, it seems ok. I probably won't try to do push ups for the next week, but I'm not gonna die and I think I'll even be back at 100% in time for my Saturday flight.

Woo hoo!

So four seasons... and still no (serious) injuries. Can't wait for next year!

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