Smack, Whack, the Ice Is Cold

Over the holidays (yeah, I know I’m still back there…still recovering), I spent some time with that fluffy, white stuff that falls from the sky. Snow! Lovely snow. Lovely cold, icy, slippery snow. In all its many forms, a beautiful sight and a great way to bring in the New Year.

A few years back, I drove with my sister and our kids for hours around the mountain in search of untainted, pure white snow. Ha. I  think we actually would have settled for brown snow. The fact is, where there should have been white there was only brown, and it wasn’t snow. We checked. Dirt and such.

This year, luckily, we saw plenty of snow thanks to a couple of recent storms. We had a blast sledding down the mountain, dragging our circles of snow behind us.

Here’s what I now label safe, hazard-free, predictable snow play. Notice the wide, gentle slopes, cushioned with a reliable amount of soft snow.

Snowplay
Closely monitored. They tell you when.

Fast forward to our rockin’ New Year’s Eve bash. Here we are in the empty ice rink.

IceRinkParty
The disco ball showered tiny green dots across the ice. There’s that.

Apparently, the guests were coming back pretty soon, uh….later. Like never.

A few other guests did make it, a mother and her two daughters. We talked for a bit and she revealed to me how her step-daughter was in the ER due to a concussion she suffered while sledding. Apparently, her step-daughter wanted to be as bold as her brother and followed him down the hill. I knew the place. We had passed it earlier and had already promised the kids we would go the next day.

The place, Little Sweden. It’s a former ski resort, closed down years ago and now a popular destination for snow play, so long as you can get a parking spot. We kept our promise and went on New Year’s Day. Big mistake! The place was teeming with sledding daredevils and, unlike the safe cushion of the soft snow above, this hill was icy and hard, and the wind picked up.

After successfully going down the bunny hills and the next level hill up, my son coaxed me into going down the big hill. The monster!

Here’s some pics of my son going down the mountain to give you a sense of it:

Top of hill (see red arrow)

thehill1

There he goes:

thehill2

Going:

thehill3

Still going:

thehill4

This hill is completely insane! How did I not notice? Do you see those little dots at the end of the hill? Those are people and those are cars that line the road. I hope you get a sense of the steepness. Add to this, the total chaos of bodies flying down in all different directions. Oh, it was madness.

Why I decided to DO this, I have no idea! My son and I went together on the sled, which is probably our first mistake. With so much weight, we had a lot of speed, hit a huge bump on the way down, went flying, actually got some air and BAM! I hit my head. Translated in haiku:

Smack, whack, the ice is
cold as my head rolled inside
stinging, swirling stars

The impact was pretty solid, like a cement block crashing into my skull. If someone caught it on video, I don’t think I could even watch it. I have no idea what happened. I do know I was scared to death. I didn’t pass out. I got up right away. My head hurt, and I was dizzy. My son was okay and asked me a series of questions, which I answered correctly.

Friends…I’m lucky to be alive.

I knew about the dangers of this hill and worried sick over my kids hitting their heads. Recall, only the night before I learned of a little girl laying in a hospital bed due to THIS hill! I saw plenty of accidents when I was there, too. What I forgot was that I was just as equally at risk as anyone else.

What’s completely amazing to me is after such a hard-hitting blow, I bounced back as if it never happened. I even drove 100 miles after on a windy road I had never driven before. “Kids, if I pass out, call 911. Okay?”

I bounced right back. That’s what we do. But I wanted to pause and reflect on it. I know I’m lucky and I’m so very grateful I’m here. It’s a rough start to the new year, but it also puts things in perspective for me. I don’t take anything for granted. Your life really can vanish in a blink of an eye. All the petty things just got squeezed out. It’s a reminder for me to linger a little longer in the moments that matter, making them as full as possible. I wish you a great new year, savoring the moments that count.

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54 thoughts on “Smack, Whack, the Ice Is Cold

    1. Isn’t is a cute little rink? There were about 20 people then they closed it so they could clean the ice and no one came back! Not the best timing. I think everyone was too cold, Mark.

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  1. Hi Amy. The results from the judges are in. You get a 5.5 for going two up, a 5.7 for the double twist piked in the air and a 5.9 for your landing. You win ! Have a star ! 😉 xoox ❤

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  2. I was going to express how jealous I was until I got to the part about the accident! I am nevertheless desperate for some snow, they keep teasing us on the weather reports about “possible” snow, but so far, nothing! On the first couple of pictures of that slope it didn’t look steep at all, but by that last picture you really can tell, and a road at the bottom to add to the danger! Glad you’re ok Amy.

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    1. It was quite the scare, Trent. A reminder that I human, I guess. Whenever I’m around snow I suppose I fall. Last time I tried skiing I fell a lot! So much I haven’t been back. I bet you’re a pro. Just be careful. Avoid those trees. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I actually haven’t been in a couple years, but I have fallen on the ice recently. BTW – I look forward to doing this weeks Friday Fictioneer. That’s a very interesting photo. I have no clue what I’ll write yet, but something will come up.

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  3. This is so true! You have to be so careful when you choose to let your body travel at high velocities down a hill or mountain, whether you’re sledding or skiing! I’ve been hurt a number of times in skiing accidents, or head plants… Usually the falls look a lot worse than they really are, but if you’re skiing the trees, you definitely need to wear a helmet.
    So glad you are okay! You are so right, that at any moment we could be gone in the blink of an eye.
    This morning on the local news, there was a story about a child being hit by a car from sledding down a small hill in a suburban neighborhood. It was the neighborhood we lived in a number of years ago, where my kids sledded on the same exact hill!!! The hill ends by the road on one side, so you had to keep your kids on the other to protect them. But evidently, the child who was hit was on the wrong side. Haven’t heard details on their condition, but I hope they are okay. It’s kind of eerie that I just saw that story about an hour ago, and here you are mentioning the importance of safety in your post! Sorry for such a long comment – just had to mention it!
    Love your haiku as well!

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    1. You never have to be sorry about a long comment, Kelly. I appreciate your thoughts! You make a good point about wearing a helmet when your body is flying down a mountain at high speeds. Sledding has a kind of innocence. NOT on this hill! Everyone could use a helmet. I’ll never go back to this place. My son wiped out, too, earlier than me, but just thought it was fun. I didn’t see it. I saw people just getting knocked off their feet who were just standing there. It was dangerous even to be a spectator. It is the difference between organized play and chaos. I like more private snow play, a nice hill all to yourself. Truly, that would be my preference!
      I’m so sorry to hear about the accident where you once lived. These things happen when you least expect them to. I hope everyone is okay after that. That is eerie you heard about it right before my post. Weird, considering I’ve been planning this post for more than a week now.
      I’m glad you like my haiku. I thought it might have seemed a little out of place, but this is what came to me when I knew I was okay. I hope I am!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Did you get checked out by a doc? I hope you’re okay too! Concussion symptoms can sometimes take a while to surface, so if you feel anything out of the ordinary, get it checked out asap, okay? I agree about helmets – really should be required at any place that offers snow play. 🙂

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      2. I didn’t get checked out. I didn’t realize symptoms could take a while to surface. I will keep an eye on myself. 🙂 I did feel a little dizzy and fell in my boot camp class, but I felt it was due to something else. I guess I’m having a bit of rough start to the year, Kelly. Thanks for checking in with me.

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      3. Well at least you know that won’t happen again any time soon! The child who was sledding and got hit by the car is in critical condition in the hospital. Only 9 years old. Talk about changing your life in the blink of an eye. So tragic.

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  4. Glad your OK, Amy. I love skiing, although I haven’t been for years, and ice skating as well. When Bill and I went skating together, he wanted to hold hands, but I told him that if he fell, I didn’t want to go down, too. 🙂

    janet

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    1. That’s funny you mentioned the ice skating. My husband and I went once and ONLY once. I fell and he tried to help me and then he fell a lot harder than I did. He had to get a tooth replaced. Oh, no! He was pretty bummed. Thanks, Janet.

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    1. I never went down head first. Those guys are crazy! My son is an extremo! The snow is fun within reason. You forget is not just white, fluffy stuff and gets rock solid when it turns to ice. No snow? Where are you exactly? I like the snow but I prefer it when it’s out there and I’m in front of a warm, cozy fireplace!

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  5. Years ago, we took our kids snowboarding. They were young enough and new enough to it that they stayed on the bunny slopes and did fine. Meanwhile, never having skied or snowboarded before, I signed up for a snowboarding class. I made my kids wear helmets, of course, while I bravely took the class without a helmet. I didn’t need no stinkin’ helmet for just a class. Right? Well, yeah, and then towards the end of the class, I was trying to stay upright and couldn’t, falling backwards and smacking my head and the snow — which was not the soft, fluffy kind, but was rock hard. I know exactly how you feel!

    After my class was over, I went and sat in the lodge. I saw no reason to keep snowboarding if all I was going to do was keep falling over. 😉

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    1. Ooh, I know how that rock hard ice feels. Ouch! Well, you know what they say, when you’re small, the fall is not so far down. Kids can fall a lot easier. I tried skiing when I was like 17 and couldn’t believe how hard it was. I wondered if I had tried it earlier, if I could have picked it up. Honestly, I’ve never been back. People just love it though, so it must be fun once you stop falling down! I did the same thing. I sat in the nice, warm toasty lounge with some hot cocoa. 🙂

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  6. Wowee Amy, take it easy! I’m glad you’re good to go and that hill looks fun but I prefer sipping cocoa or toddies inside a snow lodge. HA! My exercise is mainly inside a gym but I applaud you for tackling this hill with your sons and with much gusto.

    You’re right, time is precious, as are the moments and the people we spend those moments with.

    Now don’t slide down the hill again. 😉

    Life is a series
    Of bumps, ups, downs, joy, pain and
    Getting up again.

    I like your haiku better.

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    1. Thanks, Brigitte. It was fun so long as I wasn’t crashing. I really only had that one big crash. The truth is I was worried about it and never should have gone. When that little voice starts talking to me I should listen.
      Agree, it’s about who we spend our time with. Those are the memories we hold on to.
      Don’t worry, I’m never going back to this place! And there’s no lodge there, so forget it! Glad you liked it. 🙂

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  7. Oh wow, that’s scary. What a tough noggin you have! I’m sure it was scary for your kids too. Glad you weren’t seriously hurt.

    You’re getting far more out of the snow than me! We’ve only had it for two days and I’m already whining.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I’m really lucky, Carrie, and thankful for my tough noggin! Well, snow is a novel thing to me. I don’t have to drive in it and wake up with it on everyday basis. That would be hard! I did that for a while when I lived in Colorado. Good luck with it!

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  8. Happy New Year, Amy… your’s certainly started with a bang!
    Hope you’re OK now. What bothers me is how close the bottom of the hill is to the road! If I’d have sled down it, I would have shot across that road as if I’d been fired out of a cannon. Eek!

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    1. Or a bump, Tom! Happy New Year to you, too!.
      The bottom of the hill does look pretty treacherous. There’s actually an upward slope the road so no one is going out onto the street. There is, however, a ditch that people could fall into to break their speed and a row of trees (off to the right of the screen) to slam into…There is that. What you say about being fired out of a cannon…yeah, that’s about right!! Exactly the feeling the I had.

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  9. That sledding looks like a blast, Amy. I love sledding, but unfortunately, Iowa has a dearth of steep inclines, so there’s no good skiing/sledding places around. We did bring our students ice skating last year, so that was a lot of fun, especially since most of them had never gone before. They all had fun though. I hope you had a great vacation. All ready for 2016?
    -David

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    1. It was really fun, especially the safe route. I’m usually pretty adventurous, but I have my limits. How fun you introduced ice skating to your students. They must so love you! I had a great time and I’m ready. I’m in it! You?

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  10. So important to take care and be safe… I’ve gone down some awesome hills here, but won’t let my kids do that. Only takes one bump or collision with someone else, and bang. They keep stats here for the prevalence of broken backs and necks from sledding, it’s common to find any old hill and just use it… but even the purpose-built ones can be dangerous. I like to go to the relatively small non-busy hills, you still get a rush. But boy do I hate walking up those things…

    Here’s to snow! We finally got lots.

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    1. Hey, Trent. Sledding is not something we do very often. In hindsight, I wish we hadn’t gone to this place. Never again! It would be my preference to go on a lesser hill in a quiet spot. In the future, that’s what I want to do. That was too big of a scare for me to repeat. That’s for sure. At the inner tube place, you could be towed up the mountain. Otherwise, yeah, the walking is a chore. That was worth it right there! Enjoy the snow, Trent. Bundle up!

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    1. Me too, Dianne. I’m so relieved I’m here. Hopefully, other people won’t make the stupid mistake I did. I should have never done this!! You ended up in a creek? Oh, yikes. I believe it now. I hope it wasn’t icy cold, but I’m sure it was.

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  11. Oh my gosh! My heart was in my mouth when you said you hit your head. You really are very lucky. It does happen…just like that…in a blink. I am still recouping from hitting my head 2 years ago and it has totally changed my life. My bounce hasn’t been as good as yours but I’m still trying.

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    1. Oh, I know. I’m so lucky, Michelle. This could have been such a different story. How does your head feel now 2 years later? I hope you are feeling strong and you got a good report from the doctor. Please tell me how you’re doing.

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