Are you pulling my leg?
My late uncle Sverre was skiing down Collins Face with a young lady when he heard a man’s voice calling for help from the trees. As they approached, my uncle saw a man stuck in the trees, asking for help in collecting his equipment. With his skis, poles and clothes scattered all over the slope, it looked as though he was having a winter “yard sale.”My uncle asked the man if he needed any medical assistance. The man yelled back up the hill, “No, but could you find my leg and bring it down to me?” When the young lady skiing with my uncle heard this, she passed out cold. If only he had used the word “prosthetic” when talking about his missing leg.- Alan K. Engen, Alta, UtahA lass, alasWere both of her legs broken? It looked that way from where I was standing. A number of yards down the narrow trail, I could see my attractive, young student sprawled catawampus in the snow. By the second day, my students had achieved only a modest level of expertise with snowplow turns, the precursors to today’s wedge. After practicing for hours on the bunny slope, we began our first descent on Lower Nansen, the so-called “beginner’s trail” from the top of the chairlift. In reality, Lower Nansen was little more than a 10-foot wide, 2-mile long jeep road that snaked down the mountain. Once under way, I directed the more “experienced” students to an agreed upon stopping point, 150 yards downhill. I would then bring up the rear, salvaging the wrecks and sweet-talking the terrified remnants into continuing.Although folks were not generally as litigious as they are today, instructors were still quite hesitant about guiding novices down Lower Nansen. Classes would typically endure at least one significant injury per week: either a nasty sprain or a broken leg at the ankle. After several days of skiers plowing their way down, the trail resembled a bobsled run. As I approached the downed young lady, I couldn’t understand how she and her skis could be counter to one’s normal alignment. Surely both of her legs must be broken in several places. But as I arrived, I could hear her laughing. Hysterical shock, I theorized.Ignoring the extent of her injuries, she insisted on getting up on her feet. As I helped her stand, I noticed that she was in her stocking feet. Her skis jutted off at right angles with her boots still firmly affixed to their bear-trap bindings.”Yesterday, the damn things were so uncomfortable and hurt so much, I decided today, I’d ski without the laces.”- Doug Pfeiffer, Big Bear Lake, Calif.Vail, Colorado