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February 27, 2009

Ski Trip

I’m going skiing with my family this weekend. Skiing is one of those activities that seems like a great idea when you’re sitting indoors talking about winter fun. The crisp air, the snow, the exhilarating feeling of schussing down the slopes. But last time my wife went skiing she fell off the mountain. And that wasn’t that much fun. It’s not easy to fall off mountains because, in general, they are really big. When you are very small in relation to something very large it is very hard to fall off. Unless you are my wife. Then you figure out a way to do it.

We were skiing on the easiest trail they had. It was just a harmless little run with one small turn. The turn is where she fell off the mountain. I was skiing behind her and saw her attempt to turn, not turn, attempt to stop herself by sitting, not stop, and then go over the side of the mountain. When I saw her go over, my first thought was, “That’s pretty funny.”

It took me a few seconds to catch up to where she gone over. When I got there, I looked down and saw her hanging upside down, a fall prevented only by a bunch of trees into which she had somehow lodged her skis. Memory is an unreliable witness, but in my mind if she hadn’t gotten stuck in the trees, she would have gone over a cliff like Wily Coyote. Chances are that’s not the truth, though, because as I said, we were on a pretty small trail. Even so, we could have had a Sonny Bono incident on our hands.

So I was surprised when she suggested we endanger our children in this manner. My kids have a hard time staying upright even on a level surface devoid of ice. Strapping long fiberglass sleds onto their feet and sending them downwards doesn’t seem like the smartest idea in the world to me, but on the other hand I have never claimed to be a good parent. 

The kids are excited about it, and I have to admit that I’m looking forward to the weekend too, even though the last time I went, I actually decided to try snowboarding. Which turned out to be a big mistake. This was in Los Angeles, and I was out there auditioning for television pilots. My friend’s girlfriend and I decided to take snowboarding lessons because we had never done it before, and it seemed like fun. So we spent two days learning how to snowboard. All well and good until the middle of the second day when I fell down backwards for the five hundredth time and felt something give. Was it my wrist? It was. Was it broken? I didn’t know. All I knew was that I couldn’t move it, and after I walked back to the lodge and called Ski Patrol, I passed out.

The rest of my weekend was spent in a haze of hot chocolate and codeine. Upon returning to Los Angeles, I had the wrist examined. Yes it was broken, and the other one was probably broken too. I didn’t get x-rays on that one, though, because it’s cool to be the guy with his arm in a cast. It’s not cool to be the guy with both of his arms in casts.

I decided to ignore the pain in the other wrist because it was slightly less than in the one that was definitely broken. If it was broken, then I would walk around with a broken wrist, but I was not going to suffer the indignity of walking into a network television audition with two casts on my arms. I don’t even know if I could have gotten to the audition because I don’t think you can drive in that condition.

The lesson in all of this: skiing is really expensive and potentially fatal. The perfect family activity.


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Going to Vermont, perhaps? I hope you will be wearing your Timberland Down Vest.

Best of luck to you and your family on staying warm and returning with all of your bones intact!


I hear you on the dangers of skiing. The first time I ever skiied, I ran my skis over a little girls skis coming around a corner. Man, that girl really flew! And it just so happened that her parents were right behind and saw the whole thing. I felt terrible and wanted to help but I think the child's mother wanted to kill me so I skiied away. And then a little later, I skiied right into a tree. I don't even know how many times I fell on that trip. All in all, I probably spent around $700 over two days just to get the shit beat out of me. Good luck to you and your family, Michael. Be safe on those slopes. And remember, double black diamond = nature's ass pound.


I grew up skiing 4 days a week for my entire K-12 life (terrifying rural ski town in Colorado that only loved skiing--too bad for you if you were, like me, a bookish and uncoordinated loser who didn't like being cold), and anyway one time I BROKE MY JAW and got AMNESIA from a MAJOR HEAD INJURY when I ran into a BIG STRONG LIFT-OPERATOR (I was a 12 year old girl). Since then I have liked skiing even less. The moral is: He who dislikes having his jaw wired shut for 6 months should dare not ski.


Thanks for sharing that entertaining story. It *may* actually be true. Or maybe it's not true. True? Not true? TRUE!

If so, I'm concerned that you and your accident prone family are testing your pagan Gods. "Is this yet another dangerous family outing soon to become a cautionary tale?", readers ask themselves. Or I ask myself.

Please don't die.

But hey! This s/b your ski weekend checklist:

1. Living will? (In order)
2. Helmets, wrist guards, and wiener cups? (packed)
3. Decide to stay home, play board games, and live to see another Flag Day? (Aaaah, gotchya. That's my own personal "worry wart" agenda rearing it's killjoy head. Sugar, never you mind about that.)

Have fun!


Yet one more life lesson, which is: you don't have to necessarily break a wrist to get hot chocolate and codeine. Just sayin'...


Would't you rather be cracking your head on a surfboard?
Don't forget your muffler!

Belgian Whore

Sonny Bono died because he hit a tree while skiing, not because he fell to his death.
How do I know this?
They (my school) made us watch a video about the incident (as well as other tree-ski-death incidents) before we joined the ski club.
I was in forth grade... and wasn't quite sure who Sonny Bono was at that point, but I knew how he died.
And I skied for four years.... and one time, I saw a little girl in front of me fall from the ski lift twenty feet!
She didn't hit a tree, she hit an electrical box on one of the poles that held up the ski lift.
And snowboarders are terrible people.
They enjoy sitting down in front of you on slopes so you tumble over them.
Or they just like to hit you from behind and make you sprain your spine.
That's always fun... and that's why I stopped skiing.


I'm jealous...these last two weeks have been a big ski holiday here in France. Back home in MI, I would have had my annual ski trip last weekend. This year, I can't afford to buy a snowball :{.


My friend went into a come when she fell snowboarding. My cousin broke his collarbone skiing. My brother dislocated his knee skiing.

Have fun!


Went into a come? I meant a coma. Vowels confuse me.


haha! Bailey's funny.

"The rest of my weekend was spent in a haze of hot chocolate and codeine." This line actually sounds heavenly. Skiing and rock climbing and anything deadlyish confuses me though. As does extraordinarily spicy food. Near death = fun, pain = delicious? Hmm? Of course, I am a ninety yr-old ninny. And hot soup scares me (it scalds). And I have 70 cats. Don't forget to wear your rubbers!


Oh cool! Have fun! And be careful.

And since everyone else is sharing their exciting ski stories, so will I. The first trail I finally worked up the courage to ski was a "simple" green as I was told. Simple turned into terrifying when I saw the lip--a clearly defined lip- of the mountain before me drop into what my mind remembered was at least a thousand foot drop. Obviously, I panicked, lost control and also skiied (sp?) into a group of trees. I kid you not, as I was pizza'ing my heart out, the phrase running through my mind as I was crashing into the trees was, "Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy...." I fell down the mountain, but not off of it. Kudos to your wife.

The second time I attemped to ski I got lost and snow mobiles had to rescue me. There is nothing more humiliating than being rescued by an angry fat guy on a snowmobile after the mountain has closed down and even his awesome snow dog looks at you condescendingly.

But again though, have fun.


Every single thing you mention there are the exact reasons why I have never been skiing; If there was a way to fall off the planet, I'd have found it.


Has anyone heard from Michael since last night? Oh man, all that smack talk about trees....I didn't want to say I told you so,but.....


I agree with Camille. While skiing is obviously dangerous and I have never done it, I think surfing is decidedly more dangerous. I mean, if you run into a tree and are knocked unconscious (assuming not killed), the ski patrol comes and collects you. If it takes them a few minutes, your friends watch over your immobile body. If you are SURFING and are knocked unconscious, you're pulled down by the undertow, receiving no oxygen to your brain while the Baywatch folks run in slow-motion down to the water's edge. And swimming in the ocean takes a long time, what with the waves and all. So basically, you're dead.


another time this kid I liked named Todd ran into a tree and had to be Air Lifed to a real city where they could actually operate on his brain, and when he came back the school choir of which I was a member sang a song to him. We also sang a song to the three kids who were in the terrible drunk driving accident, and they weren't even embarrassed!!!!

Also my brother broke his femur while skiing, and they had to put him in traction on the mountain, and he was praying that he would pass out but he didn't pass out until later at the hospital when they had to take his ski boot off and he was finally rendered unconscious by the pain. They drilled a titanium rod into the center of his leg bone and now he gets a limp when rain's a'comin'.


chris flannery

As a 7th grader, I broke my femur skiing, on my very first run down. I was too impatient for lessons (1 hour wait). Passed out... woke up on a sled being dragged by a snowmobile. My parents didn't believe my leg was broken and they thought the cost of an ambulance was ridiculous, so they had me packed in the back of out Dodge Colt station wagon - laying flat on a plywood board and drove me the 45 minutes to the emergency room. I was in the hospital for a month and had a titanium rod inserted (like above). My dad was excited to tell me, "Your doctor is the same doctor who put Gloria Estefan back together after her bus crashed in the Poconos."


There is one positive to having both arms casted - you can't do jack shit by yourself, including piss. Why is that a plus? Because it's just another reason to ask people to touch it, and who doesn't need more of those?


CHRIS FLANNERY! You could have died!!!

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