The Big One

It had not happened yet but he knew it was going to be The Big One.

He had sensed that something was wrong first thing and that dark feeling had grown as he rode the chairlift to the top of the mountain. Storm clouds were gathering and the air felt heavy adding to his sense of foreboding. For a few seconds, as he moved forward into in the start gate and placed his poles over the timing wand, he had thought of stepping back from the edge but there were bills to pay and sponsors to please. He broke the wand, settled into a tuck and sped through the first few control gates. There were days when everything just flowed but today each turn felt forced, unnatural. As he approached the first jump, he tried to pick out his favoured line from the training runs but the skis were not running true. He thought about pulling up but it was too late and even before he reached the edge, he realised that he was in deep trouble.

He knew how it would be. He seen other racers fall and heard the stories of his teammates. A pop or a crack as he landed, then perhaps a second or two before the searing pain kicked in. He hoped he would not scream but he knew that he would. Then he would lie there, waiting for the medical team to reach him, for painkilling drugs to course through his body and for a helicopter to arrive as the cold seeped through the thin skin tight lycra of his racesuit. Later in the hospital, he would wait again; for X rays and MRI scans to reveal the extent of the damage and for the surgery that would follow. And beyond that lay the endless hours, weeks and months of rehabilitation, the battles to retain his sponsors and at the back of his mind, the constant nagging doubt that his body would ever be the same again, that his career could be over.

His thoughts came to an end. He hit the ground, skis and poles flying off in all directions. He slid into the catch fencing and for a brief second on the mountain there was silence.


About Peter Domican
Marketer and change professional. Writer and photographer.

2 Responses to The Big One

  1. marc nash says:

    I don’t understand the attraction of skiing. Yes if you grow up in a Nordic country where snow lays on the ground 4 months of the year, then it makes sense as a practical form of transport. But for recreation? My father had a good friend die in a skiing accident. I like the nagging goad to him of the sponsors here. i imagine that pushed him past his original love and high of skiing, into it just becoming a job.

    marc nash

  2. henriettamaddox says:

    Oh, “A pop or a crack as he landed, then perhaps a second or two before the searing pain kicked in.” made me shudder for the pain he was about to feel. Eek. It’s amazing the dangerous things we’ll do for a good dose of adrenalin.

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