The forecast called for clear skies and temperatures in the 50’s. The date: March 31,2012. In the Seattle, for the outdoor active, these are the atmospherics for the onset of the great Northwest dilemna - to ski, to play golf, or to go road biking. I’d cometed in a couple of road races the previos two weekends, the golf course was still too wet to play, so my wife and I chose to hit the slopes at Crystal and put another day on our season pass.
When we arrived at Crystal, it was anything but normal A power outage had the lifts closed and restless skiers were mingling in the darkness of the base lodge basement. wondering what to do next. With auxiliary power kicked in, we skiied half mountain for a run, when suddenly power was restored and we headed to some freshly fallen on one of Crystals more challenging slopes, Upper Exterminator. My wife elected to take a different line. I traversed across the top. noticed the black soot in places sugesting to me that the slope had been “bombed” earlier by the Ski Patrol. I went a litte further and came across a pocket that seemed untouched and inviting. I dropped in and bam!!
Slowly the entire slope started “slabbing”, drifting downwards and carrying me with it. I was buried to my waist, as the moving mass of snow dragged me down about 30-40 yards. A some point in the midst of this, I felt my left ski being torqued, heel down and tip up - an extreme dorseyflexion. An with that distention, I sensed a snap between my left calf and heel like a broken rubber band.
Merceifully, the snowslide never developed momentum and halted. When it did, I knew intantly that my left Achilles tendon was toast. My athletic world had abruptly transitioned from “full gas” to “dead stop”!
I hailed another skier who came upon me a few minutes later, called the patrol who eventually dragged me in a tobaggon to its first aid station at the bottom of the mountain.