How to Get Your Arm Broken on Mt. Baker

Maya skiing at Mt. Baker on another, more successful, trip

Last week Maya and I went to Mt. Baker ski area for a relaxed two day vacation, just the two of us. We enjoyed the skiing, relaxing in our log cabin, and the excellent food at the local Italian Restaurant (Milano’s). All was well until the afternoon of the second day. We were skiing down and had just stopped to discuss which run we would do next. I skied down to the lift first. It took less than a minute for me to realize that Maya should probably be there already, so I moved back a bit to get a better view of the slope above me. I could see a person lying on the snow, and this person was wearing a rare combination of red and blue. Just like Maya.

I took off my skis and ran up the slope. Maya was lying on the snow, unable to get up and in extreme pain. The snowboarder that hit her was still there, it wasn’t a Hit and Run. I tried to calm her down and find out what happened. Turns out she had stopped briefly on the side of the run, and a snowboarder collided with her at a high speed and knocked her down. Her shoulder hurt. Ski patrol showed up quickly with a snowmobile, and soon we were surrounded by 5-6 ski patrollers and two snowmobiles. They suspected she had a dislocated shoulder, a somewhat common injury that could probably be treated at their office, and wanted to snowmobile her out. But she was dizzy and nauseous, so they had to put her on a toboggan. It took them a while to bring the toboggan, so Maya had to lie on the snow for more than 20 minutes. Maya was wrapped up and completely covered, it looked like they were dragging a dead body behind them. I skated back out to the lodge as quick as I could, and met the snowmobile carrying Maya there.

Maya with a broken arm, one week after the accident

I was surprised to find out that they have an actual doctor on location, in fact two doctors. The doctor thought it was probably not a dislocation, and advised that we get an x-ray. They gave her painkillers too. We drove straight back to the hospital in Vancouver (VGH), where we spent many hours waiting. I stopped keeping track after the fifth wait in between steps. Finally we got some news – the x-ray showed two fractures in the humerus, the arm bone below the shoulder. The name of the bone is pronounced like “humorous”, but we both didn’t think it was humorous at all. A resident came back and started talking about possible surgery. We got up to see the x-rays, and Maya almost fainted, so she finally got to lie on a bed in a private room (we had been sitting in the corridor until then). Perhaps the strong painkillers had something to do with it. So far it doesn’t look like she will need surgery, but we shall see.

This entry was posted in British Columbia (and nearby), Downhill Skiing, Western USA. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to How to Get Your Arm Broken on Mt. Baker

  1. Peta Kaplan says:

    Poor Maya.. that’s horrible!! Sounds v painful.. Feel better soon!

  2. Granny & Grandpa says:

    So sorry – hope Maya is feeling better. Gili – glad that you are home to be with her now. We send love
    and wish her well.

  3. Nicole says:

    Thank goodness she was wearing a helmet !!
    see
    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1886115,00.html
    “Could a Helmet Have Saved Natasha Richardson?”

  4. Ben Sandzer-Bell says:

    Ouch! Sounds painful! WIshes for speedy recovery, Maya. I don’t suppose this means you two will be slowing down on the mountain top heroics? Nah…

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