On the trail: Down and out | AspenTimes.com

On the trail: Down and out

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado
Janet Urquhart/The Aspen TimesA skier glides down a trail at Ashcroft Ski Touring near Aspen Saturday morning. The Elk Mountains rise beyond the trees.

ASPEN – On Saturday, for the first time in my life, I needed an evacuation. The embarrassment doesn’t end there.

In a town where boasting about ski injuries is second only to actually getting one, I managed to incapacitate myself on a cross-country ski trail. How pathetic.

Of course, that’s not quite what I was thinking as I shouted obscenities into the snow, which is where my face was planted after a highlight-reel crash at the bottom of a short, steep section of trail at Ashcroft.

And it had all been going so well, too. It was still decidedly cold when three of us started out at midmorning, driving off the chill with the long climb up Telegraph and Upper Fiske from King Cabin. From the high point, we cruised to the Pine Creek Cookhouse, then crossed the road to make our way north on River Run before popping out at the ghost town of Ashcroft. My skis were slicing through the freshly laid track like it was firm butter, and all was right with the world.

At the top of the drop, a narrow bit of trail that’s too steep for my liking, I watched the first skier in our group fly down with ease. I’ve often walked this pitch, and I wish I had Saturday.

They’d set track there, right in the middle of the narrow trail, for what purpose I don’t know. I snowplowed down to the flat at the bottom, got a ski caught in one track and wound up going ass over teakettle. It wasn’t pretty.

I had small branches poking into my nose and mouth, my face was caked with snow, and I was bleeding from an insignificant scratch, though I didn’t realize it at the time. I was spread-eagle in the snow, gripping the back of my right leg and shouting in pain. I’d felt the hamstring tear.

Long story short, a nice man hauled me out on an ancient snowmobile, I grimaced on an Aspen Valley Hospital emergency room bed for what felt like an eternity while everyone who came in said, “We need to get you a pain pill,” but no one did until I was about to be released.

The depressing diagnosis: I won’t be skiing, or anything else, for a while.



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