This weekend, the Olympics inspire me to delve into the winter wonderland that is Mt. Bachelor. I dream of snowboarding with the Olympians who hurl themselves 30 feet into the air, twisting and flipping with impossible precision.
I learn the hard way that just because I look awesome in my snow gear doesn’t mean I’ll slice up the mountain like The Flying Tomato. After five successful chairlift rides to and from the bunny hill–where I practice nasty misty flips, grasping the edge of the board and completing my tricks with 360-degree tail jumps (um, yeah, in my dreams)–I decide I'm ready for the black diamond run at the top of the mountain. The chairlift comes just as fast as it always does, and I hop on fearlessly.
I am confident, cocky, like Lindsey Vonn.
Right as I decide that I’m way too cool and talented to wear my helmet, I run through my mental checklist re: deplaning. I realize three things:
1) This chair is more crowded than a Farmer’s Market on Memorial Day weekend.
2) My snowboard doesn’t have an autopilot setting; it requires steering.
3) The ramp is approaching way too fast, and I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.
I come to clutching my right arm, a 48-year-old, wrist guard-clad ski patrolman hoisting me to my feet and up the stairs to the first aid office. Playfully, he clicks his wrist guards together and looks at Jeff, the cute boy I’ve had the pleasure of shredding with: “I wear these puppies all the time. You should think about getting her some for her next b-day.”
My balance is gone, my head is spinning, and I look for the nearest bucket to puke in. A new ski patrolman rips my mitten off and tells me that since no bones are protruding through my skin, my wrist probably isn't broken. After the nausea wears off, I’m hurled into a made-for-snow stretcher and wrapped like a mummy beneath a neon yellow tarp. The ski patrolman secures me and hooks the toboggan to his waist in preparation for a bumpy ride down Mt. Bachelor.
Inside the ski patrol offices, I quickly scrawl left-handed check marks and signatures on the waiver in front of me, signing away any liability for the mountain and it’s staff—and any chance of covering my non-insured butt. They check my vital signs and send me on my merry way.
I find the bar and drink beer for the rest of the day.
(And, yes, my wrist is as broken as a Haitian sewer line.)