The Whole Skiing Accident Story
February 11, 2011
We had just finished lunch at a mid moutain restaurant. A huge burger, fries, and vitamin water. Completely delicious after skiing hard all morning. Erica decided to ski back to the base and take the rest of the day off. this was our final day to ski and she was ready to shop. We had had an incredible morning skiing all kinds of trails. Here is a video of a run I did earlier in the day called, McConkey’s Bowl (a double black diamond.)
The weather, sun, and snow were beautiful. Will Krauss and his sister Maya and her boyfriend, Richard and I decided to head back to the Mc Conkey lift so we cruised down “Mid-Mountain Meadow” an intermediate trail (blue). As we started down the trail, I noticed a crosstrail producing a significant ‘launching pad’ perfect for jumping. You can find these often on the slopes. I hadn’t tried a ‘heli’ all week and knew that it was a good time. A heli is a 360 degree turn in air. I have done these for several years and landed many and crashed many. I skied up on the edge of the trail and told Will, “I am going to do something crazy.” He didn’t know what I was going to try. I took off and had good speed. I launched off the snow and started the revolution. I remember thinking, “I’ve got this” and getting almost all the way around before thinking, “I’m going to fall”. All this happened in milliseconds. That’s all I remember of the jump of the fall.
My skiing companions saw me start the jump and rotate but I went out of view during my fall. They didn’t see exactly what happened during my fall. They skied down to me and said that out of no where a nurse skied up and started tending to me. I was motionless, facedown with my arms under my body. I was unresponsive but making slight groaning noises. Someone skied down and called ski patrol at the nearest stop. I had hit my forehead and upper right cheek and was bleeding. Evidently, I had over-rotated and caught my skis in the the snow. My feet stuck and then my upper body slammed into the hard packed snow downhill, knocking me unconscious. I was ‘out’ for over 10 min before I started talking. However, I don’t remember saying anything. I kept repeating, “what happened?”…”Where’s Erica?”…”That’s Will Krauss” (pointing to Will). I said these 3 things over and over.
The first thing I remember after jumping and being in mid air is opening my eyes and seeing the ski patrol talking to me as he buckled me into a stretcher sled. He asked me to remember three things and he was going to test me on them later. I blacked out again and woke up momentarliy on the ride down the mountain and felt snow hitting me in the face. When you are injured on the mountain, a ski patrolman will ski down the mountain and pull you in a sled. They said I asked the patrolman as he was strapping me into the sled.. “is it too late for me to ski down the mountain?” He said, “Yes”. He asked me what happened and they said I told him, “It looks like I was skiing.”
They took me down the mountain to the Park City Clinic and took X-rays of my neck and back. I woke up at the clinic and heard the he Doctor tell me that I needed to be transported to University Hospital in Salt Lake City for further testing. I told her, “why do I need more testing? I don’t hurt anywhere.” She replied, “A few moments ago, you didn’t know where you were, you don’t know if you hurting anywhere.” They loaded me in the ambulance and sent me to SLC. Here is a video of me heading to the ambulance.
At this point, I was finally aware of my surroundings and remembered the jump that I attempted. I was very upset for ruining the trip, and not wearing a helmet that day. I had wore one two days before. As we rode to SLC, the EMT in the ambulance questioned me in detail about my job and what I did during the day. He was trying to make sure I stayed awake and that I made sense. Once we got the hospital, they wanted to perform a CT scan to make sure there was no bleeding in the brain. There are basically 3 different types of brain bleeding and they wanted to check for each type. They wheeled me into the scan, and then took a look at the results.
Here is a clip of me in the ER
Everything looked normal, so they released me. I still had my ski boots on…
Our friends picked us up at the hospital and felt so bad for me that they took me out for steak. It ended up being a great night and I was so grateful for no further injuries and great friends to heal the wounds!
The questions have been asked… will I ski again? will I jump again? why?
The answers are: yes, yes with a helmet, and because its what I do…