CAUTION: This post contains self-indulgent content.
For the last decade and more, aside from a few minor scrapes and bruises, I’ve skied injury free but, through the misfortune of my skiing companions, I’ve given the Trois Vallees Medical Centres lots of business. A couple of ACL tears, a broken collar bone, snapped achilles, concussion and, most notably in 2012, a heart attack. I’m even on first name terms with some of the Doctors.
Consequently, I’m alive to the risks and rigours of backcountry skiing and I train hard in the off-season to prepare myself but, in my mind at least, the role for which I have been caste in the drama of a mountain accident is always that of First Responder. The lead role of Casualty is always another actor, sometimes known to me, sometimes not.
Skiing the pow last week I sustained a knee injury when I double ejected from my bindings after my skis connected with an unseen, immovable object under the snow. Right up until that moment I was having a blast but in the instant that I parted company with my skis I knew I was in big trouble.
It turns out that, despite all my training and experience, I’m ill prepared for playing the Casualty and I’m not enjoying the experience at all.
In a sport that eats knees for breakfast, lunch and dinner I have to acknowledge that I’m lucky this is the first such injury I’ve sustained. I’m also trying to remain optimistic that my season isn’t over in the hope that I can return to my previous role as First Responder as soon as possible.
SPIN ZHIRA: Old Man in Helmand. A true story of love, service and incompetence.
Over-matched, over-ruled and over-weight, Spin Zhira is a tale of one man’s personal battle against the trials of middle age set on the front line of the most dangerous district in Afghanistan. Guaranteed to make you laugh and cry or your money back.¹
‘Brims with authenticity and dark humour.’
Patrick Hennessey, The Junior Officers’ Reading Club
‘A must read.’
Richard Dorney, The Killing Zone
‘The best book by a soldier concerning the Afghan War that I have read.’
Frank Ledwidge, Losing Small Wars
Doug Beattie MC, An Ordinary Soldier
Dr Mike Martin, An Intimate war
¹Check the small print first