Posts Tagged 'simon gagne'

The Fool On The Hill

That’s me in the corner. That’s me on the summit of Vermont’s Stratton Mountain mugging for the camera. That’s me not wearing a helmet.

Hey I was snowboarding and cool snowboarders don’t do anything that looks dorky or gorpy. I had consciously chosen to ride that day sans helmet No big deal. The next day with a helmet on, I, switched over to skis, the day’s highlight being a non-stop, high speed descent of a Black Diamond slope under the gondola. 

Back on the board the following day, I reluctantly, at my wife’s urgings, went back to wearing my helmet. On my third run of the day, a snowboarding repeat of my skiing the expert run from the top, I lost a heel edge on a particularly steep drop-off and went down hard, very hard, striking the back of my head on the hard pack ice beneath the inch of so of new powder. 

Even with the protection of the helmet, the impact from the fall left me momentarily dazed. I got back up, shook off the slight mental fog, finished that run and the rest of the day. Mid-afternoon of the next day, the muscles, tendons and all the stuff in my neck and in my abdomen began to seize up. By evening I could barely move my body without pain and audible wincing. 

For almost two weeks following my Stratton spill, I suffered what people rear-ended in an auto collision would call whiplash, nothing disabling, but uncomfortable enough and lasting long enough to put some manners on me. 

What was learned from this? Never again will I go out on a mountain to ski or snowboard without a helmet. I joked with friends that without my padded plastic lid, I might have been talking concussion a la the Flyers Simon Gagne. Not so, one friend said, “you might not be talking at all, a la Sonny Bono.