When Bad Luck Won’t Take a Break

The base area of Stevens Pass.

Day 12: Jan. 15, 2016

  • Stevens Pass
  • Vertical for the day: 23,000
  • Year total: 201,000

I have a complicated relationship with Stevens Pass. I want to like it, but bad things always seem to happen to me there.

This trip was no exception.

I’ve encountered more rainy days at Stevens than I can count. Even on good days, I’ve taken bad falls. Once, I caught a flu bug while skiing at Stevens and ended up being sick for two weeks afterwards. Last year, I bought a season pass at Stevens only to be shut out by a horrible winter.

This day started with freezing rain. Par for the course, I thought as I walked to the ticket window. I’ll make do.

Skiing Double Diamond at Stevens Pass.

First thing, I headed to the Mill Creek side of the mountain. The snow was mediocre — I skied a couple of cruisers and then headed back to the front side. I launched into Double Diamond, a steep, north-facing run, and found good snow. I explored more steep drops and found decent snow in Big Chief Bowl and the narrow double-diamond run Wild Katz.

So far, so good. After a quick coffee break (an excellent Americano, courtesy of the T-Bar Market), I headed to 7th Heaven on the Cowboy Mountain side of the ski area.

7th Heaven chairlift.

The ride up 7th Heaven is a thrill in itself. The chairlift ride seems to go straight up a 500 foot cliff. Once on top, you’re able to ski a variety of expert runs back to the base area, or if you want a quick rush, you can take a hike and drop into a series of chutes under the chair.

I did the chutes first. The snow was good and the runs, while short, were fun. Things were going my way.

I took a run back to the base area on the double-diamond Cloud 9 and headed back for those chutes.

Bad luck hit when I dropped into Bobby Chute.

While turning, I buried a tip on the steep slope and felt myself going into a somersault. “Release!” I screamed at my binding. Finally, it did, and I took a header downhill.

The damage was done. It wasn’t too bad — a strained left calf — and I was able to ski down and regroup.

SkiZer, after the fall.

I took it easy for a couple of runs. That calf was hurting as I made even the easiest right turn. I popped a couple of Ibuprofen (every skier should carry this wonder drug), ate some chocolate and pondered my next move.

The SkiZer rule about a bad fall is as follows:

If you are able to ski, you MUST go back and ski the same run where you fell. I call it “Payback time.”

I rode the 7th Heaven chairlift and told myself, “You have to do this.” I unloaded, did the short hike and dropped into Bobby Chute. I wasn’t super aggressive, but I skied it well. Take that, Bobby, you little bastard.

Tree skiing on 7th Heaven.

Feeling a little better, I skied a few more laps on Nancy Chute and Solitude Chute. Midafternoon,  I called it a day, and limped back to the car.





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