Alta states: Getting back to basics 

Re-evaluating the 21st century ski experience

62172_l.jpg

"We've shrunk the mountains..."

- Paul Mathews, president of Ecosign

 

As you read this, I'm sitting in my room at Vancouver General waiting for the surgeon to replace my flesh-and-bone knee with a new plastic and titanium one. Being somewhat of an old-school guy I can't say I'm excited about the exchange. Trepidatious would be more accurate. But I have no choice. The original joint is way past its "sell-by" date.

You know that old adage "pain is pleasure"? Well that pretty much defined my ski experience for the last few years. And I was able to fake it for a surprisingly long time (being a lapsed Catholic, I felt right at home with the pain=pleasure concept). Besides, I had one good leg to work with plus five decades of on-snow experience to fall back upon. I figured that was enough. I mean, if Phil Chew could do it, so could I.

There was still the matter of that dragging left leg however. A less-than-functional outrigger with the annoying habit of getting deflected by anything in its path, my sinister ski was nothing but a nuisance now. Funny right? Yeah, like a three-legged chamois on a narrow alpen ledge. Aw-aw-awkward.

My mountain friends tried not to wince (or giggle) when they rode with me. Sometimes they couldn't help themselves though. "Dang," blurted an old-time ski buddy one particularly flat-lit day, "you're making me hurt the way you're charging those turns. It looks so bloody painful. Why the hell are you still up here anyway?" I just grinned and grit my teeth even more. How could I tell him that this was the one place on the planet where I felt safe right now? How could I explain to him my raging need for downhill bliss? So what if it hurt physically. It was soothing my battered soul.

But it couldn't last. My angst-fuelled mountain frenzy this past winter pushed the pain factor way over the edge. Pleasure had disappeared. The moment had come. Banzai...

So here I sit in VGH, a reluctant patient at best. Contemplating my future. Wondering what the heck the next chapter will bring. Is this the end of my skiing vocation? Am I embarking on a completely different journey now? And what about Whistler? Would I still want to live in the mountains if I couldn't slide on snow anymore?

I know. I know. Everyone tells me I'll be back on skis in no time. That my life will be better and more enjoyable and fun again once I start living without pain. I'm getting testimonials from all sorts of Alta States readers. "It's the best decision I ever made," says one hip-replacement survivor. "I'm skiing better now than I ever have."

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Alta States

More by Michel Beaudry

Sponsored Content

Demystifying the rules around renting out your Whistler home

From average price per night to acquiring the proper license, here’s what you need to know...more.

© 1994-2018 Pique Publishing Inc., Glacier Community Media

- Website powered by Foundation