Category Archives: sports

Thank God for Ski Patrol

Final Curves at the bottom of “Longshot”

We spent our spring break snow skiing in Snowmass, Colorado, a tradition in our family for the last ten years. Even though my daughter, H, is 17 and most of her friends are at the beach, she still prefers skiing with her parents (horror!) because she loves it so much. In my opinion, Snowmass is the absolute best skiing in Colorado…maybe even best in the country. With over 3000 acres of terrain, 91 trails (I looked it up), mostly high speed chairlifts and access to your choice of cruisers, glades, steeps, and my favorite, bumps, it never gets boring. I love that going to different areas of the mountain usually only involves one lift or short run, and I love that even during spring break it never seems crowded, and yesterday I found out one more reason to love it here. The emergency response teams, from the 911 operators to the ski patrol, were absolutely top notch.

It was the last run of the day, a typical spring day of skiing, where the conditions up top were great, but getting down to the base involved a lot of slushy, messy, slow snow, so we usually try to get some momentum on the last part of the run so we can make it to the bottom without having to pole as much. My husband, J, was in front and we were actually moving at a pretty good pace for the bottom part of longshot, when he suddenly did a quick hockey stop and jumped out of his skis. I stopped, too, and then saw what he had seen. A teenage boy was on his hands and knees, at the edge of a ravine, vomiting up a lot of blood. Our initial thoughts were that he was just losing his lunch, but then we saw a ski at the bottom of the ravine, and one set of tracks leading up to where he was.  He had his cell phone in his hand and handed it to J, who was able to tell the 911 operator where we were.  The operator was absolutely amazing.  She told J what to say:  ask questions, comfort him, tell him he was going to be o.k., and generally just keep him calm.  The boy was obviously in an incredible amount of pain.  At first he was hanging over the edge, but was able to climb up to the level part of the hill and roll over onto his back.  I took off my coat and put it under his head, rubbed his forehead and held his hand.  He was able to tell us his name, age (16), and that he was staying with friends who owned a home in Aspen.  We couldn’t find any blood on the outside of his body, but he was moaning and in tremendous pain.  J took his coat off, we covered him up, and about 10 minutes after we found him the ski patrol was there. 

They were incredible.  The first two that arrived promptly started talking to him, assessing the situation, and very soon some more came with the transport vehicle.  They were in communication with the patrol main office the entire time, and by the time they’d assessed the situation and loaded him onto the snowmobile stretcher, we heard the ambulance in the background to take him to the hospital.  After they left we stayed with the accident investigators while they tried to piece together what had happened.  The most likely scenario is that something happened at the top of the ravine (out of control jump, skis crossed, or any number of things) and he lost one ski there, then was airborne for 20-25 feet and “superman” landed on rocks at the bottom.  It’s unclear whether he lost consciousness there, but he somehow made it to the top before vomiting. 

J and I were so lucky to have been there when we were.  I’m so glad we could do something to help, however little it was.  But as I was holding his hand and rubbing his head, all I could think of was that he was some mom’s little boy, and this could have been my daughter.  I was wiped out when I got home and couldn’t concentrate on anything.  I kept bursting into tears, imagining the worst.  I wanted to know how he was.  I remembered his name because we had asked him that at the very beginning, but I didn’t want to bother his family at the hospital.  So I called Ski Patrol at Snowmass and was able to talk to the director, who had been the one on the phone with J while the rescue was taking place.  He told me because of the HIPAA laws he couldn’t give me any information, but was very kind and thankful for our help, even though I couldn’t even finish a sentence without crying.  I tried to suck it up, and know that we had done what we could, but I couldn’t think of anything else.  I was emotionally drained and slept very little last night.   I had received an email from the Ski Patrol director, Mr. Chalmers,  after our phone call, thanking me again, and giving me his contact information.  I emailed him back, apologizing for my emotional phone call, and gave him my contact info in case the family wanted to get in contact with me.  This morning I was trying not to think about it, but not succeeding, and then I received a phone call from Mr. Chalmers to tell me that the boy was stable, didn’t have to have surgery, but had very severe internal injuries and would recover although it would take a long time.  I can’t describe how much that meant to me, to receive that phone call.  Even though I am still concerned and hope he will be okay, the fact that I know what happened will help me to move on.

J and I want to take some kind of emergency response course for civilians, so that we will know more of what to do when something like that happens.  But I know that I am going to need to be able to do my best and then leave it.  I don’t know how paramedics and medical professionals do it…how do they avoid getting personally involved?  The fact that this boy was close to H’s age might have had something to do with my response, but I can’t imagine doing things like that every day, and either not knowing what happened, or knowing if the worst thing happens.

I have so much more respect for the ski patrol after seeing them in action.  They were fast, professional, organized and efficient…as well as comforting to the victim.   I’m sure ski patrols at other mountains are great, too, but this is one more reason why I love Snowmass.  I hope no one in my family ever has cause to use them, but knowing they are there gives me a great sense of comfort.

Spring skiing in Colorado!

Spring Break in our family means one thing…spring skiing! For many years we went to Beaver Creek, which we love, but last year we thought we’d do something different so we joined friends in Whistler. Whistler has a great village and two mountains with lots of long runs, but spring is NOT the time to go there. The weather is just too iffy. We had rain, fog, ice, and just pretty much miserable conditions. So, this year, we decided to try another new place…Aspen/Snowmass.

So far, Snowmass just might be my favorite resort! It could have something to do with the record snowfalls they’ve had here this year. I don’t know the numbers, but it’s been 25 years since they’ve had this kind of snow. Spring skiing is so unbelievable in Colorado. Sun, powder, and long long runs. I’m amazed at the grooming of these slopes. Even the ones that haven’t been groomed are so nice and soft that it’s not a big deal to venture out and do bumps.

There is an incredible run here called “Longshot” and it’s 5.3 miles from top to bottom. You take a couple of lifts to the very top, then take off your skis and hike for about 20 minutes to the top of the run. It doesn’t get groomed, so there are a lot of bumps and it was the most unbelievable ski run I’ve ever done. I bribed H to go on it by telling her she could have a Snicker’s bar when we were finished. J was the biggest complainer, but he loved it, too. Check it out:

Girls in sports…benefits in the workplace

I read a very interesting article about the benefits of sports participation for girls and women. Why Sports Participation for Girls and Women

Research shows that between ages 6-9, boys and girls are equally interested in sports participation, but by the age of 14, girls drop out of sport at a rate SIX times greater than boys. Even though our daughters are not as likely to be discouraged from playing sports as they were 10 years ago (thanks to Title IX), they aren’t encouraged to the same extent as little boys. We need to encourage our daughters’ sports participation, so they can derive the psychological physiological and sociological benefits of sports participation that boys and men have received for years.

We’ve all heard about the benefits for girls involved in sports:

*they’re less likely to have unwanted pregnancy
*more likely to get better grades in school
*higher levels of confidence, self esteem, and lower levels of depression
*more positive body image and higher states of psychological well-being

and yadda yadda yadda…

But, the interesting thing in this article is the fact that women entering the workforce, who don’t know the written and unwritten rules of sport are at a disadvantage in understanding business models of organization.

For example:

1. Teams are chosen based on people’s strengths and competencies rather than popularity
2. Successful players are skilled in practicing the illusion of confidence
3. Errors are expected of people trying to do new things. Just don’t make the same mistake twice
4. Loyalty to teammates is very important
5. “I will” equals “I can”
6. In a hierarchical organization, your boss (coach) gives the orders and the employees (players) follow the instructions.

Sport is where boys have traditionally learned about teamwork, goal-setting, pursuit of excellence in performance and other achievement-oriented behaviors–critical skills necessary for success in the workplace. It’s no accident that 80% of female executives at Fortune 500 companies identified themselves as former “tomboys”-having played sports.

Super Bowl…is it just all about the party?

Sure, it was exciting. Parties everywhere (I’m told, we didn’t get invited to any!). But celebrity sightings were common. Terry Bradshaw, Chris Rock, some other sports broadcasting dudes that J recognized.

Shopping in Scottsdale…awesome.

Restaurants-thank goodness we had reservations. We had a couple of great meals, all leading up to the very nutritious peanuts, popcorn and pretzels at the game.

Jordan Sparks singing the national anthem…the highlight of the day.

Tom Petty singing his old standards live…he even looked like he had his hair blown out. It wasn’t sticking to the side of his head!

On the other hand:

Standing in line for 45 minutes just to get IN to shop for souvenirs that were cheap, overpriced, and picked over.

The first hotel we checked into-a $750/night “suite” that was about 200 square feet, with 7 foot ceilings, smelled bad, and had NO CLOSET WHATSOEVER. When we called to ask if there was a secret door to the closet, they brought us a luggage rack to hang our clothes on. (Needless to say, we left shortly thereafter).


No commercials (Normally a good thing, but not on Super Bowl Sunday).

VERY FEW instant replays. Hard to really know what’s happening down on the field.

Traffic. Took us almost 2 hours to get out of the parking lot after the game.

Flying home-flights were backed up for hours due to all the celebrities’ private planes at the airport.

The restaurants at my concourse ran out of food on Monday. I found this out after I drink a glass of wine at the bar. So I ordered another one. Not a good thing for me on an empty stomach. In the middle of the day.

So…in retrospect. We were very grateful to our hosts for letting us join them for a fun weekend. But we like watching from home. No traffic, tivo, commercials, and lots of analysis.

Super Bowl Shuffle!

Since we’re super bowl bound, I was thinking about the first year that I really started watching super bowls. I was always a football fan…even had a sports broadcasting class at UT Knoxville, where a big grade came from doing a research paper on the Super Bowl in 1983, but in 1985, The Chicago Bears swept onto the scene with the best group of characters ever seen on one football team! William Perry (the fridge), Walter Peyton “sweetness” (rest in peace), Jim McMahon (and his ever changing headbands…so 80’s)…and a little music video called “The Super Bowl Shuffle”

Wonder if this is where rap got started? Oh my God, those white boys are cute, but they can’t dance or rap worth a crap!

I also wonder how the 1985 Bears would do against the 2007 Patriots? They beat them back then, but now? Perry was considered huge by NFL standards in 1985, now it seems like every team has a few big boys like that. They did have a good defense…could they stop Brady?

Phoenix Super Bowl Bound!!!

Yes, we have tickets to the Super Bowl! Although the Titans aren’t there, and never really had a chance to be this year, the Patriots are (instead of the Colts-yeah, baby!), and J and I are so excited. I’ve been to one other Super Bowl…when the Titans played the Rams, and lost by inches. I don’t know if I can really count that one, though. I had the flu, and dragged myself there, through the crowds and the smells to the absolute BACK row of the stadium, and never stood up for the entire first half (trying not to throw up). J looked at me in the 2nd quarter and said, “If you’re going to have to leave, I want to leave at halftime so I can at least watch the last half on TV.” So sadly, we left. I missed the halftime show. But THIS year, it’s Tom Petty! I wonder if he’s going to do any Traveling Wilbury stuff…

Anyway, J and J have been going back and forth, planning the hotel stay, the Nike party, maybe meeting Dick Butkus (I don’t know how to spell it), bringing some special bottles of wine to drink, but we just realized we don’t have dinner reservations anywhere. With the Super Bowl and some big PGA tournament all going on this weekend, we might have to eat at McDonalds… maybe popcorn and hot dogs at the game. Oh well. J’s working on it. More to come.

Christmas decorations came down…and the Titans blew it.

Christmas decorations came down. Everything looks so empty.:-(

I didn’t think I bought that much new stuff, but I had 6 additional boxes to put away! How does that happen? We’re well on the way to overstuffing the attic in our new house, and we haven’t been here a year.

On another note, the day is flying by. Since it’s our last day before school starts I wish it would go a little more slowly. I’m going to work out and watch the Titans play San Diego. Fingers crossed it’s not a blowout and we eke out the victory we should have had last time we played them.

Yuck. The first quarter they looked like they might be able to pull it off. Even though EVERY sports writer and announcer said there was NO chance they could win.

Typical Jeff Fisher football. Run, run, run, run, and try a short pass every now and then. Worked statistics wise at first. We had the ball 80 percent of the time, moved the ball, but only made two field goals. Maybe now they’ll rest up in the offseason and next year…or the next…or the next.

Movies and Football

We decided to sleep in and watch the Titans on TV, even though this was a huge game against Jacksonville, also in our division, only one game behind us, and even though it was probably the last game with semi-comfortable temperatures. I know, fair-weather fans and all that…

It was ugly. I think being there would have made it WAYYYYY more painful. Vince Young is just not looking good at all. He’s not scrambling out of the pocket, and his throws into coverage are just becoming the norm. Oh well, I’m just glad we didn’t witness it in person.

H had a friend over last night. They went to the movies, met up with a couple of friends, and then came home and stayed up until at least 4:30 a.m., when J woke up to them singing at the top of their lungs, and nicely told them to go to bed (translation, yelled loudly…”Get your butts in bed!” They stumbled out of bed at halftime of the Titans game ready to go get bagels.

The whole, “drop them off at the movies” thing is new to us. Some of her friends have been doing that for years, but we just never felt comfortable doing it. Still don’t feel comfortable doing it, but we do it anyway. She has to call us before going in, before coming out, etc., basically just to make us feel a little more in control. Will we ever feel comfortable letting her out of our sight? Probably not.