Vail Daily letter: Be prepared
June 9, 2014
After he admitted to have 40 years of skiing experience, Chuck Wachendorfer — in his article in the June 2 paper — said he fell because of overconfidence. This was an overconfident statement, so the brain injury must have been real. His brain hit the slush and he was re-traumatized.
Anyone — anyone — who claims to be a seasoned skier and has skied 40 spring seasons knows several facts. In the spring, snow conditions can change rapidly over a rise in the snow, into and out of the shade, into sun exposed areas, over an hour of time, or at a lower elevation. Second, you have to be ready for it and adjust your stance for the speed change. Third, injuries are much more common in the spring in heavy snow than at other times, so you have to be more careful.
Wachendorfer's crash wasn't the result of overconfidence. It was because he didn't prepare or apply his ski experience. Then again, I guess it's possible to ski 40 years and not learn anything about spring snow. The truth of the matter is that he was excited to try and keep up with AJ Kitt and the giddiness erased his memory for a brief period of time. That would fit the story better. You can be sure AJ Kitt was thinking about the changing snow that day.
Wachendorfer and Blockbuster didn't prepare for what was coming. Wachendorfer out of giddiness and Blockbuster out of slothfulness. It had nothing to do with confidence. It was a lack of that old Boy Scout motto — "Be prepared." It's hard to admit that you just weren't ready.
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