Making the Most of an Epic Skiing Crash in Whistler

Finding a new interest out of a trip ending injury


Whistler. That crazy ski-town you've heard of up north. The one that gets DUMPED on and has some legends that call it home. It's dreamland, the Disney World of skiing, and I got to go. I was incredibly stoked, and booked/planned my trip for my family in August. I had just gotten a new pair of Line Mr. Pollard's Opus skis with Rossignol FKS 120's mounted on them and I was stoked to hit some powder with my best friend who came along the trip. But everything kinda went out of whack.


First, our connecting flight from Seattle to Vancouver got delayed an hour and a half, causing my friend Skyler to wait in YVR for 4 hours. Then once we landed, our plane happened to be the LUCKY plane to get selected for random screening of luggage, so the delayed plane had delayed luggage. Great, more time lost. The Sea-to-Sky Highway is legendary from what I've heard and I was planning on having us leave the airport around 12:30-1ish to be able to see it in the daylight. After both delays and the car rental not having a car for us initially, we set off at 3PM, around 2 hours behind schedule. Some GPS miscommunication and a few wrong turns and somehow we're in bumper to bumper traffic in Downtown Vancouver. We end up not getting into the hotel until around 6:30PM, having driven most of the way up in the dark. But I was just stoked to be here and getting back on my skis.


Our first day of skiing was decent, variable visibility with flurries made it a decent day to be back, but Monday was the real kicker. I had come up here in hopes of finding dreamy powder stashes and getting face shots all day long, and my dreams came true on Monday. I woke up to see no clouds, and read the report for 30cm of new snow. After doing some conversions (go imperial system?), I realized there was a WHOLE FOOT of brand new snow, and that this meant it was a BLUEBIRD POWDER DAY. We got to the Gondola at 8:30 and that was already too late, even thought that's when it opens. The line zig-zagged between barriers and extended ALLLLLLL the way back to the Ticket Booth. We finally got up there around 9:30, and once Harmony 6 opened, we were all over it. I was riding in knee-deep powder on fresh lines and maybe one other person in sight. It was INCREDIBLE. It's the kind of stuff you dream about and hope it comes true one day. Tuesday was an extremely windy day, so we couldn't ski any alpine lifts so just a so-so day. But Wednesday was when everything went wrong.


Those of you who know me know that I ski extremely aggressively and at pretty high speeds, and some minor crashes always happen here and there. But there was one run where I was just booking it down and my left ski popped off (DIN wasn't set correctly... only at 6 when I should be at least an 8) and I lost control. I hit the ground extremely hard with my head and my right side and my right ski hadn't come off yet, causing my leg to twist in a weird way. After slowing myself down, I realized I had broken my glasses (3rd pair in 3 seasons), lost my GoPro, ejected from both skis, and was in some decent pain. I was so frustrated because I realized this trip was probably over for me, because it's only the first trip of the season and I just couldn't risk an injury. Just a couple bruised ribs, a funky knee and a sore neck were enough for me to just take it easy for the rest of the trip. But what was I supposed to do for the last day here?


I decided I wanted to head north to Seton Lake and just take in the scenery, take some photos and just relax to get my head off the fact that I ended my skiing a day short. But of course, the conditions got pretty snotty and the roads slick, so we had to turn around half way, which was extremely frustrating. I had pretty much given up on this trip and was kinda upset at how things had gone, until I remembered I had made a list of 7 lakes in case this first one didn't work out. After realizing the other 5 were inaccessible as well, I settled for the last one, Lost Lake, and remembered reading somewhere about snowshoeing there. Snowshoeing can't injure me right? So we decided to head back and snowshoe, and boy was I in for a treat


HOW HAVE I NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE? I go on a skiing trip 3-4 times a year and I've never gone snowshoeing in my life, but WOW. I had no idea this could be so much fun! After renting our snowshoes at Cross Country Connection, we headed off onto the Nature Trail towards Lost Lake. The sun began to peek out, and the scenery just got better and better and better until we reached the lake. And WOW. I was blown away at the peacefulness, the quiet, and the beauty that I was surrounded by. God's creation continues to humble me. I enjoyed snowshoeing so much I began to consider buying myself a pair so that I can continue to hike in Seattle during the Winter Quarter (which I have Fridays off so hmu). My sour mood from the events of the past 24 hours began to ease away to my new excitement and curiosity in this new activity. Who knew strapping on snowshoes and walking around could be so enjoyable? If you don't, I highly recommend you get on that. Like rn.

I fly back home tomorrow, and even if the trip didn't go as planned as I had liked it to, I still had an incredible time. Maybe finding these little nuggets of goodness come out of mishaps and unplanned, spontaneous ideas. And I'm super down for that, because if I can find more things like snowshoeing, I'd be one happy camper.

Published: December 23, 2016

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Andrew HoangExplorer

Seattle

Hey! My name is Andrew, I'm currently a student at University of Washington and am originally from Southern California. Just a dude who can't get enough of the outdoors