Nothing humorous about the humerus

US Wealth Napolitano |

A few weeks ago we joined another family on a ski trip up to Sugarbush Mountain in Vermont. I probably should have heeded the warning signs on the way up north: the trip took over 4 1/2 hours to get there, our car almost got stuck on a remote mountain pass due to the inclement weather, and by the time we arrived, the temperature was a balmy minus 17°F.   Nice weather for a penguin or a polar bear, but quite frankly not much for my liking.

Rather than become one with a frozen chairlift, the next morning we elected to avoid the arctic and remained inside, attempting to get our courage up to ski in the bitter cold.  The dilemma became the negative zero wind chills versus the fresh snowfall. Three layers of clothing versus hot coffee and pancakes. With a fair amount of deliberation and a lengthy lunch, we decided it was time to take the plunge.

After my initial run, I was pretty excited about the outstanding snow conditions, despite the chilly temps. When we got off the chairlift for our second run, my son and his school chum were entirely convinced that the best available way down the mountain was a side trail with large black lettered warning signs posted about skiing at your own risk due to the lightly covered terrain. I seem to recall that a sign even had an "X" on it; something that creates uneasiness for a skier like me.  The lesson here is that one should always follow his gut instincts, and not necessarily the judgement of two 10 year old boys who actually enjoy skiing down a lightly covered trail. Despite the feeling that I probably shouldn't be going down a narrow, heavily moguled, ungroomed, lightly covered trail with bits of grass etc. showing, I decided to follow them.  The rest as they say, is history. There are four primary ways to get down a ski mountain: skiing, walking, taking a ski patrol sled or in the form of a enormous snowball.  I am quite proud to say that I did not take the form of the latter. However a good toboggan run can be exhilarating; I could not resist the ski patrol's offer. The verdict unfortunately was a broken humerus bone (upper arm), which should not be confused with humorous.

Despite my misfortune, I feel pretty darn lucky that it wasn't my dominant arm, my head, or one of my legs. While my arm will be in a sling for a few more weeks while things get aligned and heal, I'm already looking forward to strapping my skis on again next year when I plan to meet my son at the bottom of the mountain on skis and not on a sled.

This article was written by Thomas H. Fletcher