We all like to have memories of our holidays, the times you laugh when you do something for the first time and that sad feeling when it’s all over and all you have left is the memories. For me though a normal Tuesday where these memories should have been accumulating was replaced by the somewhat dull and normal image of scrambled eggs…
The Snowboarding Story
I was on a snowboarding holiday with my mother, we were staying in a small, homely chalet in Val d’Isere in France. Staying with us was an assortment of English people (not surprising as Val is thought of as a slice of Britain just 1500ft up a mountain). The staff was all lovely, bright-eyed young people all hoping that this was a stepping stone to greater things, all apart from the head chef who seemed to possess a permanent melancholy look on his face. This ambient mood seemed to be projected onto his food as everything he made was either wilted or dropping.
On this particular Tuesday, he was serving up some rather undercooked sloppy scrambled eggs that would have looked quite at home in some greasy spoon. The color was dull and reminiscent of old English mustard. However I was glad not to have tried the porridge, I could have glued myself to the snow with it. I only go into this much detail as this is the only part of my day that I can remember, the rest of this article is pieced together from stories told to me and to some extent, my own hopes and imagination.
On the first run of the day, a nice easy green was to snow was soft and like caster sugar I had an accident, I’d love to tell you that it involved me swerving around a beginner to save a small child from dropping off a cliff whilst doing a summersault in mid-air, but it doesn’t. Sadly for me and my pride, I merely lost my balance, caught the back edge of my snowboard in the soft snow, and fell over, my head making contact with the mountain before anything else.
This is where my detective work begins, from what my mother has told me, I sat on the mountain merely staring at my own hands for half an hour until a French ski instructor was nice enough to stop and call a blood wagon for me. This speedily took me down the mountain to the Val medical center, my mother trying to keep up. At the medical center, I was assessed as having a second-degree concussion. This is where the forms were pulled out. My mother was not allowed to move for fear of another form being stuffed under her nose for scuffing the floor with her ski boot.
After a helicopter ride down the rest of the mountain to a large hospital and several scans later, my hippocampus suddenly hit the reboot button. It’s an odd feeling to not remember anything, to suddenly be in a hospital bed with a saline drip in one arm and a morphine line in the other. My very worried-looking mother sitting next to my bed, filling out forms. However, the most worrying thing was the fact that somehow, I had been stripped of my snowboarding clothes and placed, or maybe draped is the better word into a horrid (open-backed) paper gown… disconcerting doesn’t really cover it.
I was told I needed to spend the night in the hospital, what I was not told was that firstly I would be served nothing but crusty bread and hard pasta, and secondly that I would be woken up every two hours so some poor doctor could shine a light into my eyes while I refrained from yelling at him.
The next day I was released after the staff at the hospital collected every piece of information from my date of birth to how long my toenails were (and frankly I’m surprised they didn’t see that when they were removing my snowboard boots). After returning to the chalet (where everyone had been informed of my condition and was eager to hear about it…). I left them in nothing but suspense, not because I am mean, but because simply put they knew more than me at this point.
As all I had been fed on up to this point was starch, I went in search of some protein and found a small restaurant that overlooked a large telepherique ferrying ambitious skiers up the mountain. The sun was shining as I sat out on the large balcony. As I sat there I checked my e-mails, many saying things like ‘get well soon or ‘you absolute fool’.
My food arrived, a large plate covered in raw mince meat topped with a raw egg and covered in onions and sliced pickles (yes, that’s how it was meant to be). This was not the best choice, but, it was incredible! The next thing I did was head down into town o find a helmet, this I have now learned is the single most important piece of snowboard equipment. However, the style must not be lost, so after an hour of picking through several ski shops and trying on loads of helmets, much to the annoyance of the shop owners I finally found a helmet, but trust me, I’m not eager to put it to the test.
After this, my holiday proceeded as normal. Thanks to a lack of memory I was not put off by my little accident and carried on snowboarding. The helmet is still in one piece and waiting for my next holiday tomfoolery, I’ve never broken a bone… It was only when I got home a received the letter for three thousand pounds that I realized just how expensive having this kind of accident is! All I can say is thank the lord of travel insurance, and my mother who insisted on getting it…