‘Kneed’ those pads | AspenTimes.com

‘Kneed’ those pads

Joel Stonington
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” When I first began telemarking, I didn’t take too seriously the suggestions of friends that I invest in a pair of kneepads. For the most part, I wasn’t going too fast and when I ate it, my face was the part of me that hurt.

However, I later found that I sometimes hit my knee on a ski when I got too low on a steep run. But I never would have imagined what happened on Saturday, even though I had finally taken the advice and gotten a set of pads.

I went into a deep turn on a steep little section of Dipsy Doodle just below the Buckhorn cutoff and nailed my low inside knee on a fixed rock.

I hit hard enough that the rock tore my ski pants, gouged the hard plastic pad and made me want to throw up. I stood for a while and caught my breath, then felt the dull ache of a bruise beginning.

Obviously, it wasn’t a super-steep run and I wasn’t even going too fast, but I hit hard enough to do serious damage.

I skied to the bottom and could definitely feel the knee, but, for the most part, I was fine. However, I quickly realized that hitting the rock would have been a season-ender without the pads ” a shattered patella wouldn’t have been too much fun.

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So now I will offer advice to all those telemarkers out there: Wear kneepads.

Just one serious rock was enough for them to pay for themselves and allow for a sweet weekend of powder, rather than a sled ride down the mountain.

The avalanche rating in the Aspen zone dropped from high on Sunday to considerable on all aspects and at all elevations on Monday, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

Says the CAIC: “Observers confirmed how tender the newly loaded layers are, reporting cracking, collapsing, whumphing and easily triggered small slides on north through easterly aspects.

“Human triggered avalanches are likely Monday, especially on steep northwest-, north-, northeast- and southeast-facing slopes, near and above treeline. Given the weak nature of the old snowpack on these aspects, large avalanches are possible. Do not let the nice weather and draw of fresh powder draw you into making bad a bad decision.”