Saturday, February 20, 2016

SARA Champs at Timberline, WVA

Today I was out skiing on our home mountain with the 6 yr old. The 9 year old was at practice with the D-Team, the 11 yr old and the 13 yr old were running a GS course set up for them on Big Acorn. Little man and I got a couple runs in and then a friend asked if I'd talked to my husband.

My husband, the 17 yr old and the 15 yr old had driven to Timberline Resort in West Virginia the night before to SARA's end of season Championship races. All three of them are competitive skiers.

When I said "no, I hadn't heard from any of them. I don't usually until after the race." She got quiet for a minute and her face got serious.

"Oh. What did he do?" I asked. Getting serious myself. In the south we ski SL and GS. Not as fast as Super G and Downhill with those intense crashes you see on t.v. but still, this is ski racing. You can blow your knee, hit your head, whatever. Doesn't happen often but it happens.

Well, it wasn't that he'd blown out of the course and hurt himself. It was that the lift broke. More than broke. Some chairs derailed. My husband was in one of them and might have been hurt. He had a bloody nose...


So I skied down with the little guy and called my husband at 9:54 AM. And thankfully he answered. While little man kicked off a ski and proceeded to try to skate around next to the lift line on one leg I tried to get a sense of what was going on.

My husband said that his chair was right in front of one of the poles and the wheels moving the chair line sheered off. I'm just telling you what he told me. Sheered off. His chair fell. He face planted and hit his chest pretty bad.

My 17 year old daughter was in a chair that also fell and hit the pump house on its way down.

My 15 year old son's chair did not fall. He watched it all and then sat in a chair waiting to be evacuated.

At 10:47 I texted one of the mother's there on the mountain because we'd heard one of the other boys had broken his leg in the fall. She said "no, he is ok, a couple of scratches. They are still taking people off the lift. Everyone is ok, just a little shaken up."

I was in a car accident last year and I am still dealing with some of the injuries I sustained. Having had that experience, hearing that my husband had cut his face and was bleeding and that his chest hurt and that my daughter was complaining that her back hurt, I asked him to please accept the ambulance ride to the hospital. My husband and daughter were taken to the hospital and checked out with CT scans and X-Rays. They kept my husband until 3 that afternoon, I'm guessing because of the chest pain. You've got a 45 yr old man who just suffered shock and trauma and he has chest pains. Are you going to send him home? No. Once they'd been checked all over it was determined that they had some serious bruises and muscle trauma but that was it. Maybe a muscle strain in my daughter's neck.

We are so lucky.

I should add: I am super grateful for our ski family. To the friends and coaches who kept me up to date on my daughter and husband's condition as well as the friends and coaches who kept up with my son.

There is a picture on twitter taken by @fowler_chase showing the the pole where the chairs derailed.

This is what the news gathered:

borrowed this image from another ski mom who was there:
edited to add:
ski lift fail, timberline, west virginia, ski, derailment,
photo of the tower failure from my husband's facebook page

his comment:
the thing about that comment: when you look at the pictures all the lift chairs are in the air. It doesn't look *that crazy right? Because the chairs fell, then were pulled back up by the cable so people were thrown from the chairs when the cable rebounded.

and finally this comment from a friend of Tim's who is also an avid skier : OMG Tim. Thank god you are alright. I had heard that Timberline had been struggling financially and things were falling into disrepair but that is outrageous.

Outrageous. Exactly. 
Most of us who ski regularly are fully aware that as a result of our choice to ski we can get hurt on a mountain. None of us include resort negligence in that equation. Mechanical failure of a ski lift should not be something that "just happens" at a ski resort or that is brushed off as a minor incident. 

1 comment:

Barb said...

This is a terrible nightmare! People rarely think of lift malfunctions, but I know they can happen. Many years ago, I was skiing at Sun Valley when a double chair to the top was blown into a tower and jammed while other chairs behind it crashed into it. A young person riding the lift saw what was happening and was forced to jump, incurring serious injuries. Your family is very lucky. I'm glad you're all going to be OK. It's snowing quite a bit this spring at both Breckenridge and Vail. Ski conditions are great right now.