Coming out to a mountain is different, it's why I do it, (that and a small thing called snowboarding!) But every once in a while it's nice to have some familiarity, and what better way than with friends?!
Ben and Lindsay were just guests last year... People who arrive on a Sunday and we look after... until the following Sunday... Holiday makers, you've probably been one? But Ben, Lindsay and a few of the other guests on that week turned in to friends. When you finish the night pilled up like a Jenga set on the dining room table, you know you've made a bond!
|Ben, Chris, Me and Laura|
Kerry and I had hoped that Ben and Lindsay would return... A good set of guest means a good week in a chalet, not only for the guests themselves but for us, their hosts. So we too got excited about their return.
We were all doing the snow dance and man did it pay off! The beginning of the season was a little patchy on snow. Still ride able, just not what we were used to from last season. We had buckets of snow the week before Ben arrived and the week was made up on riding some very fresh powder on one of the emptiest weeks of the season.
Our manager and maintenance guy came over from Tignes one day and we blasted round the mountain finding all the best bits until early afternoon when Ben and I gave them an initiation to Crystal Dark, an off piste, yet piste poled run, on the far right hand side of resort. It was so lush, it seemed that hardly anyone had been down it and I don't think we saw a single soul in the 4 or 5 runs we did consecutively...
A small ridge type jump had been created, presumably by the wind, but possibly just following a contour of the land underneath. It turned out to be a nice, if a bit of a steep, jump and we all had fun hitting it as fast as we dared. I even managed to pull off a front flip/roll much to the surprise of my manager as you can hear...
Crystal Dark was re-named Crystal Meth... Once you've done it once it's sooo addictive, especially in these ideal conditions. I posted what was meant to be comical comment about loving Crystal Meth which backfired as I received worried and concerned comments and even an email from my Dad who doesn't have Facebook! Don't tell porkies about doing drugs kids! There's too many people that love you!
A few days later and a bit of chaos came to town. Ben and I were out, first run of the day, head to the top and cruise down the piste to a little off pistey bit ... Normal routine really. I shoot down the piste and sit on the top of a little hip ready to make the decent in to the powdery stuff. Turn around and Ben's had a little spill. Normal routine really! (We are boarders!) Little falls etc are common place with boarding, if your not falling your not trying... So I turn back to the mountain to plan our route down, after 10 seconds or so turn back to see if Ben is ready to set off.
He's still on the floor. Not normal routine. Normally you bounce back up, ride down and make up some excuse like you were trying a 'Backside Double McTwist off of that little lip man'. Ben finally gets up and gingerly makes his way down to me, clutching at his arm. Apologies are flying by this time and I assure Ben there's no need to be sorry, are you hurt?
"I think I've done something to my shoulder, just have a quick feel see if it feels wrong compared to my other one"
So I'm stood there in the middle of the piste giving what either looks like a very hands on prep talk to my friend, or an impromptu massage. One things for sure, Ben's shoulder is not right!
Even through his ski jacket I can feel that his right shoulder has an egg shaped and sized 'lump' coming out of it. That's not right. Ben is confident he can make it down the mountain so we both make a slow but steady decent, mainly on our heel edges, until the top of the first lift where we unstrap and ride the chair lift down. In the mean time Lindsay and her sister are still having their snowboard lesson so Ben and I settle down on the sofa to research exactly what could be this protrusion sticking out of his shoulder.
An AC seperation is the most likely cause, basically where a big bit that is meant to be held down, is sticking up. I'm a doctor in the making! I know it's serious when Ben asks me to sit on the other sofa so he can lie down as he feels sick. Lindsay came back around lunch time and she packed a bag to go down to the hospital in Bourg with Ben.
A day later and only hours after having an operation to get some wire work done in his shoulder and Ben is signing himself out of hospital to come back to the chalet... Our cooking must be good! I was gutted for Ben. He'd looked forward to coming back out to the alps for so long and we'd chatted about it online for weeks before. Now he was unable to board for the last 2 days. But I guess that's the risk with 'Xtreme' sports.
I just don't know how, over 2 seasons, I haven't hurt anything yet?!