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Desert Skiing


North Star

We set out on our first ski trip in two years. Our knee injuries hadn't kept us away from the slopes, this time, it was a combination of school and no snow that gave us such a lengthy hiatus. However, the protracted gap did not affect our muscle memory as Julia and I were zooming down the slopes of North Star at Truckee in no time.

After a glorious day of skiing on excellent snow in sunny weather we packed up and made the trek across Nevada on to Park City to indulge in another three more days of skiing. The trip through the snow covered deserts of Nevada was wondrous. After overnighting in Elko we continued our snowy drive and were soon at Rick's place in Park City.

Park City

Julia and I skied all day the next day in more lovely warm and sunny weather on more excellent snow. Julia had by now returned to her former glory days of skiing and was tearing up the slopes at Park City.

The next morning, we were back out skiing and had another great day. On our way off the mountain at about 2:00 pm Park City time Julia and I were heading home down the Home-Trail when without warning she caught an edge of one of her skies. This caused her to fall. During the slow fall on a very gentle ski slope her skies got tangled up and she broke her leg. I was ten feet in front of her and could hear the bone crack!

The mountain rescue folks were wonderful and had her off the mountain and in the medical clinic within 30 minutes of the horrible accident. The doctor there took x-rays and discovered she'd fractured her tibial plateau. This is a break in the knee and required immediate surgical attention. They braced her leg in a splint and I drove her to the Utah University Medical Center Emergency. She spent the night on pain medications with little sleep as she had to be monitored for a potential swelling that could cause blood flow issues in her leg.

She had her surgery the next day and the expert and friendly staff at Utah University Medical Center did a wonderful job. Poor Julia woke from her general aesthetic while in surgery with no memory of where she was, who the people were around her or even what had happened to her. She cried out loud and had to be calmed by the nurses until she regained her memory.

The surgeon spoke with me after the operation and explained that it had gone great and she was now the proud owner of seven titanium screws and one titanium plate; permanent reminders of her skiing endeavors.

Our good friend Rick allowed us to stay at his home in Park City for an extra week as Julia slowly began her recovery from the initial operation. We sure appreciate Rick's kind gesture. Julia had three very bad days after the surgery, but later that week she began to come back to us. She was in fact strong enough at the end of the week to make the arduous journey back across the snowy desert to our home.

She has 10 weeks of no load-bearing on her injured knee, then another 10 weeks of physical therapy to get her function back in her unused leg. Then some more time to return back to full function, although I doubt she'll ever want to ski again given the ordeal she's been through. Oh well, only Darwin knows.


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