Posted by: smithdavid | December 8, 2013


I move my arm again, see if the numbness has eased a little. But it still feels stiff. I take one more breath and then ski down to EV, there is a bit of pain every time I raise my right arm. But it doesn’t seem too serious.

‘Jy reg nou, Dawie?’ EV says once I’ve stopped beside him.

‘Arm’s a bit sore, but should be okay…’ ‘Looked like quite a hard fall…’ he says.

I shrug and look down to the Les Deux Alpes valley. It’s still snowing hard and I can only see a few feet ahead. The only way to navigate is to follow the poles that mark the edge of the piste.

les deux alpes village

les deux alpes village

We head off again now, slower this time, headed towards the Jandri Express (the cable car that travels to the top of the mountain). We reckon we may as well go all the up to the glacier, see if conditions are any better at high altitude.

There are no queues when we get down to the station, we are the only ones in a car that can take about fifty. Now that we’re out of the snow I start testing the range of movement in my arm, trying to figure out what could be wrong with it. When I try and lift is up from my side the muscle beneath my shoulder seems to have seized.

‘My experience of shoulders is that you shouldn’t try and move them if they don’t want to move,’ says EV, watching me. EV has much experience with shoulders, he’s suffered a dislocation. I stop moving my arm. The thought flutters that perhaps I should stop skiing. But I never give the consideration any real time.

thiut on a clear day

thiut on a clear day

Visibility on the glacier is no better and we begin skiinig down. There is more tension in my body than there usually would be, my last fall seems imprinted and I doubti what I feel through the skis and boots. But there is no-one else brave enough to take on these conditions and after a time I start to enjoy the magnificent sense of space and silence.

Later on we tackle Diable Rouge, a tricky red that leads to the village. EV wipes out a couple of times. So do I. On one occasion my left hip thumps into the icy snow beneath the powder and a shock wave jolts through my right shoulder. I wince and begin to think there might be something serious wrong.

We take Diable Rouge a couple of times. EV is keen for one more ride but my energy has waned and we make our way to Le Pano Bar (a disco that runs from 2-5 near the glacier) where we are meeting the rest of the crew who have come along for EV’s birthday. Once we’re inside and my body begins to cool down, I notice a persistent pain in my shoulder. The drinks start flowing for the birthday celebration, we go outside to dance in the snow, to listen to the heavy beats of the speakers blasting out into the mountain.

The drinks warm me and our groups’ silly antics amuse me. But the pain in my shoulder hangs shadow-like over me like a shadow. Mostly I worry about how this will affect my surfing.


  1. may shoulder’s pain
    be kindly listened to
    and heal 🙂

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