I started on a beginner slope where I learned to apply the Snow Plow to stop and turn. I nailed it my first try. I slipped here and there but otherwise, nailed it! I felt so comfortable in my brand new ski jacket and even though I looked like a beginner, my attire was completely appropriate and fashionable! Feeling confident and excited, I took the tow-lift, which required me to recall my water skiing skills where I stood beside a pully which at a set interval, an attached hook-bar-like plastic handle thingy hangs and swings so that skiers can grab onto it and be pulled up the 300 meter slope.
At the top, I switched gears and leaned forward like I'm supposed to and went down like a pro....beginner. More revved up, I lined up and wanted to ride again! A guy in front of me tried to grab but didnt have his skis straight, so he fell. I was right behind him and had to wait for the next handle so I wouldn't run him over. Since he shook the pully cable, it swung the handle coming up behind me back and forth in a pendulum motion. Remember, I said "hook-like" so passing up this handle, from behind, it "hooked" my 12 hour-old jacket by the pocket and tore it to shreds. It looked like I had been attacked by a shark. Nice looking insulation, though!
Disapppointed, but not discouraged, I trekked up one more time before heading to a Blue slope. Obviously highly experienced skiers frequent this slope to show off, go fast without dying, and otherwise frighten the beginners and kids all to hell because of how close they come and how much they spray the downed 1st-timers. I ran this course 4 times.
We were also paced by a 5 year old who was learning from my student's father. This was good since I didn't feel like I was holding anyone up, but I could go slow, then fast and stop often to practice, while waiting for them to catch up. My fourth and final trip down was super. The 5 year old did not join us on this last run, so I was free to follow the others with a little more pace and cross-slope agility. I slung myself up the side banks and hopped in the air to catch a little more momentum to fire off the bank with athletic speed and diagonal precision! I made it down to the final slope where I was overly-confident and picking up too much speed. I decided to cut way left and finally way right into the steep side-bank to slow down before the final drop off. I would have gone way too fast for my safety had I gone down the final slope without regaining control and slowing down. So, I cut right and slid all the way accross expecting to cut left again, which would have slowed me down considerably, and enough to dig in for a complete stop. Yikes! There was a small child and an instructor stopped at the base of the bank, which forced me to decide between trying to cut left before them, which would have resulted in imminent collision, or go to the right and up the bank and then around them going back left. Naturally, I went up the bank and avoided collision. But what comes up, must come down, and even faster. Desperate to avoid reaching the top of the final hill and going down the slope at dangerous speeds, I dug in my right leg hard, which you know takes a little bit of twisting to point the toe inward. Faster than I have ever gone that day, I felt my heel stick and my right outer ligaments of my knee twist and hyperextend while I fell in a few different directions, and since my skis did not come off, I had to twist my knee around to right the ski to avoid worse damage, but still pulling and twisting my ligaments.
I didn't move while begging for urgency to remove my boot from the ski so that I may straighten my leg and hold my knee in place to check for torn things.
So... Nairi Hospital is nice!
I didn't feel pain. I stretched and wiggled it and signaled that I was ok, and ready to fit my boot back into the ski. I stood and put weight on my right leg to stabilize myself for inserting my left boot. There was no support of my femur on my knee joint because the outer tendons and ligaments were injured. I crumpled like a piece of paper, not from pain, but from the absence of physical structural bone support. Diver-signal for man down, and an emergency call for the snowmobile stretcher was called. 100 meters to go and I bust!
I was 30 minutes in the ski clinic saying "No I do not want a pain killer injection, I just want to leave." Since there was no pain, I was and still am in surprisingly high spirits. I was humiliated since I was a guest and required a ride to the hospital for x-rays. I was in a silly mood trying to stay positive because I did have one of the most fun days in Armenia since I got here 18 months ago!
Knee, you better heal up good because I'd like to get back out there before the season ends. Check out the photos and video.