Winter Park. I had been planning this solo trip since last October. Early pre-season lodging, 5 minutes walk to lift. Decent flight schedule at a reasonable price. Potential for 7 1/4 days of skiing if flight was not delayed, so cheapest lift option was $499 season pass, Cool.
Day 1. The headache started before my plane hit Chicago. I tried and tried to push water and Gatorade. Got to Denver, feeling crappy, met first snafu. Duffle bag was at carousel far end of terminal. Skis normally show up close by on special purpose built carousel. Said carousel never moved. No skis. After poking around and asking questions, I was directed to an 8.5 x 11 poster on the backside of a cement column announcing that oversize baggage was at the other far end of the terminal. Only my skis weren’t. Eventually they appeared, some 35 minutes after my duffle. Thanks, United.
This messing around caused me to miss my shuttle, scrapping any hope of skiing a run on arrival. Not that I could, with my head feeling like it was. I stumbled into my studio, dropped my bags, and crawled into bed.
Shortly after, the dry heaves began.
Day 2. Next morning, head was improved but tummy had not. Spent entire day in bed. Finally around 6 PM felt well enough to fetch take-out pizza.
Day 3. Finally feeling recovered enough to ski. Snow was fantastic, couple inches fresh. Found some low-angle trees to my liking. Back in the saddle, hee haw!
Day 4. More of the same, except I was beginning to develop a cough. Did not get a good nights sleep.
Day 5. Before I left home, I received a small honorarium for services rendered, which I spent on hiring a local mountain guide to point out the non obvious stashes. Met Ellie at 10 am. It was Saturday, but we had line cutting privileges, Whoopie! She showed me some stuff I had found on my own, but different ways to get in and out to maximize the vertical. I have been avoiding trees since the Parkinson’s kicked in. It felt so good to be back in the game, even if it was only on low angle terrain. Chasing Ellie like a dog chasing a car, I was pretty beat but pretty happy. Cough getting worse, probably bronchitis. Did not get a good nights sleep.
Day 6. Sunday. Much anticipated 10-12” over night, still snowing. Did not get a good nights sleep, did not make first tracks, but what I did get was glorious. Soft pillow moguls, short trail segments of mostly untracked. Skied until I could barely walk, so called it a day and went back to my room , and said to myself, hey, what the heck, let’s go over to the medical clinic and get this cough checked out, figuring that they would just tell me it was a virus and take it easy drink lots of fluids blah blah blah.
Instead, they checked my oxygen levels, and they were way low. X-Rays showed lots of liquid in lungs. EKG normal. Apparently I was still suffering from a bad case of altitude sickness. They gave me two giant oxygen tanks to cart around, and said “DO NOT SKI. YOU STAND AT RISK OF HEART ATTACK OR WORSE!”
Day 7, 8? So, practically in tears, I packed up my bags, changed my travel plans at no small expense, and went home to Vermont. And I was still coughing so bad I was getting at best 3 hours of sleep. Flew into Burlington Tuesday night. Coughed all night. Wednesday morning, My wonderful saintly wife took me to the hospital ER, turns out I had the Flu, too. The Flu probably caused the altitude sickness, and that caused the bronchitis. A perfect storm of maladies. After X-rays, CAT scan, EKG, nebulizng, pill taking, steroids, I’m back on my feet if not on my skis.
So, not the best ski trip ever, but probably the most expensive — and memorable, even though I did not take so much as a selfie.
Wesley Alan Wright, Retired
UVM Academic Computing Services Legacy Applications Division
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