Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pot surgical thoughts a video blog

*** really, Kate? 12 Minutes?! And I took a walk with Weems? And with Cindy? Good lord, sorry folks, I'm a rambler still... 3 weeks out I'm finally starting to make more sense***

It took an extra day for me to post it... whew! This must be what it feels like to be person who doesn't drink coffee.

Had a wonderful walk with Cindy Lou this morning. Weaning off the drugs slowly today, feeling so much better today.

Miss my KIDS like freaking CRAZY! Man that part sucks like crazy. But I was told NOT TO GET SICK while I'm healing, so damnit, I'm gonna suck it up and just sit here missing them.

Thanks to all the pioneers who did this before me, thanks for all the help and the friends and the love, more soon!

Going out for a walk now. :-)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Home from Surgery

Alrighty then! Here we are, back home from surgery. I ended up staying in the hospital a day longer than I expected too, my first two days after surgery were great, felt strong an surprised at how good I felt (and I need to apologize to all the people who had to deal with completely unintelligible texts from me while I was trying to give "no really, I'm doing great' updates".

So I'm back in Aspen, ensconced in Kurt's house, where he's helping me keep my insane need to be outside in check.  Kurt slept on the lazy boy in the hospital room for three nights even though he had a friesnds'  house to stay at, an I have to say  waking up to see his face, fuzzy and through the haze, sleeping right there was an incredible comfort to me.

I couldn't believe he was willing to do it, and do it night after night, and I finally slept, knowing that his care was there, and complete, an good. I felt calm and grateful, and I slept.

Dr. Corenman's team at Vail Valley Hospital was incredible, so gracious, even when they were insanely busy, they wanted to know what they could do to help me, to help Kurt, to make things easier, better, they didnt' rush us or try to get us out the door. They encouraged me to heal and helped me along the way. They cared for both of us in a patient and gracious way that was way above and beyond what I expected.

I was so happy to wake up and realize this was it, it was over. They weren't going to take me back and say "okay lets get started" again, because it was over. We'd done it.

I held it together until we checked in. Then I sat down and the tears came. I just really didn't want to be be crippled and bed ridden.

Kurt was there. Right there. His hand was on my shoulder, he let me do as much as I could on my own two feet, and when it got right up against that part where I could have pushed through, he just gently took the reigns and kept it rolling. He knew without asking what I needed, quiet and gentle, up the stairs, into the gown, into the iv, no extra coddling, no fear, no extra concern, just he was there, and so was I and so was this next thing we were going to do together.

And I went back, and he kissed me good bye, and the lights went out. That's the last I remember,

Until thinking, wow, we are done, and my throat doesn't hurt nearly as much as I thought it would.

I am so grateful to have gotten this done. Does it hurt? Yup. My neck is sore and the surgery sites are swollen and oogey. But I have my hand back so far. My shoulder doesn't hurt. For the first time since 2008 I don't have a headache.

I'm caring for myself, I'm standing on my feet, but miraculously, when I need someone to do the velcro on the back of my brace, there are his strong hands, holding the back piece in place and pulling the tabs down tight. He takes long enough that I see in his hands and his eyes that he wants it done right, it is important that it heals well.

Today, Tom and Kurt and the boys and I went up Aspen Mountain (we took the gondi, Kurt hiked) and wandered around in the sun. The boys are happy to see me whole, Kurt and Tom visited and my skin drank in the Vitamin D like crazy.

Right now, I feel very blessed, very lucky, and very open. The road to recovery, the other side, has begun. (Right after this nap.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Hi y'all! Apologies for the long, rambley posts below, I dictated them while driving home from Pre op. I'd been wanting to wrote a post before I went im, and normally, I would edit them and make sure they were, you know, readable.

But there just isn't time. So here's the raw material straight out of my brain, and thanks for all your support!

Feeling really good, calm and ready this morning. :-) yay! That's a nice place to have ended up.

See ya!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Ramblings on surgery part three

​I just went and said good night to the kids. They are nervous about the surgery. Ethan said what if they make a wrong turn with the knife and they accidentally kill you and Bodie what if they cut out the wrong part and then Bodie asked again if the doctor would keep all of the pieces that he took out and put them in a bag so that I could keep them in my pocket so that I could have all of my body parts with me all the time. So we had a little conversation about the surgery and the fact that Dr. Carmen has a really excellent record and that I will be able to hold orange juice with my left hand and not drop stuff anymore and I won't be in pain anymore and that I will be strong and they'll be able to hang on my and we'll be able to wrestle and it's going to be great. It was fun to explain it to Ethan and Bodie because it reminded me of all the right reasons why I am doing it. So anyway eventually over this past week I needed to get busy so Curt and I really dove head first into the bike school report which we wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and spent about 30 hours writing and it turned out to be like a 45-page document partially because it was really fun to write and partially because we had a lot of information and partially because the pictures are so cool that you have to make them big and they take up like a half a page. It was really good to just throw myself into that and be so busy that I just couldn't think about anything else and I wished Andy well. He went off to ride bikes in Whistler so I was really excited that he got to go and our friend Piglet is up there and she is writing and so my heart and happiness are with them while they are whooping and hollering and you know what I couldn't be there anyway right now because I can't hold on to the handle bars of my bike because my left hand doesn't work. So I cannot wait to see their pictures and hear their stories and it feels a lot like being so, so happy for Cindy and Portio I am really excited to hear about what the trip is like for Andy and the gang that is up in Whistler and I know that we will get to go on another time.

​So I am headed over to Curt's house. He's going to take care of me for the next one to five, six, seven days and I feel okay. You know I'm a little sad that I'm going to, like I feel really healthy right now aside from my left arm. I took a Percocet earlier so I am not in pain but and so my left arm is really weak but aside from that, like my lungs feel healthy, my heart feels healthy, my mind feels healthy, my legs feel strong and my body feels strong and like I feel like I'm ready to go play but so it's hard to know that and then know that at this time tomorrow I will be in recovery and I will be on the beginning of a six week journey that does not feel healthy and strong but the wonderful thing to really know is that at the end of that six week journey I will be much, much healthier and stronger and when Dr. Carmen asks me do you have any questions for today, I said yeah like I get to ski six weeks from surgery, right? I get to ski and he's like yep, fully fused, your neck muscles will be weak but you can ski and so I was like awesome, that's all I want to hear.

​My friend Ben Roberts sent me a message a couple of weeks ago when I was really freaking out and sometimes when I get these wonderful messages either from my friends Ben and Weems and Megan, these three people have this knack for sending me like these beautifully written emails and Seryl and Peter too, just these wonderful like out of the blue little statements about the positive effects of what's going on and you know often times they come when I am in a really scary place and I read them and my heart reads them and I cannot respond in that moment and then sometimes I forget to express my gratitude like later so I'm going to express it now. Ben sent me an email a little while ago that said that when he fused his neck, he had the opportunity to spend some time working on his low end skiing and it really, really changed his game and the way that he moved on his skis and when he first sent that to me I wanted to be like yeah, I know but I need to work on my own skiing, blah, blah, blah and be really mad but the reality is that I know that this is true. I know that fundamentals are what makes the game strong and I know that maybe this is the discipline that I needed to knock me down all the way to the bottom and start. I totally feel like Indigo in the Princess Bride, right? You told me to go back to the beginning and so here I am at the beginning.

​So tomorrow it is off to Vail and I check in at 11:00 in the morning and then I have a two-level fusion and I don't know how long the surgery will take and I have this awesome secret bike in the back of my car for Curt to go play on while I am being operated on and that will make me smile and my heart tender that he is leaping into the air on these big meaty tires and feeling exhilarated and full and fun and then when I wake up, my neck will be in one strong peace and there will be no pressure on my nerve and my hand will immediately begin its journey back toward recovery. I will spend two nights in the hospital so you probably won't hear much from me. If you do let me apologize ahead of time, if you do hear from me on Facebook, it will probably be like blah, blah, blah, much like this blog post and then it will probably be about four days back at home, I'll be at Curt's house where he will be helping me out before I move back to my home. So, journey on. Good luck to all of you while I am out of touch and thank you so much for all of your support and encouragement. I could not and would not want to take this journey without you and you know what I realized, whether you write a blog or not, nobody is taking this journey alone so I am grateful for the community that is around me and I am part of your community too so thanks for being in the group together. That's corny, but it's true. All right, much love and I will see you on the flip side, bye.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Ramblings on surgery part 2 of 3

So since then, so I was really looking forward to going to Ushuaia with my love and my friend and spending some time training hard, putting our relationship and our friendship into this kind of environment where we’re teaching each other about patience and communication and listening and skiing, so I feel very much like that was taken.

and I’m sad, and the reason that I feel sad about it is because I feel like State Farm took it from me and that makes me really sad, but I know that I had to work toward letting go of that.

I was angry about it for a while, partially because of the tryout, but the tryout, while it’s a goal and it’s something to work toward and something that’s sort of been the glue or the path or the light on the path I guess. It’s more like the light on the path.

It’s not really the point, and so, you know, if life happens and the tryout doesn’t, that’s okay. I’ll be sad not to get to give it a shot, but you know at this point it’s kind of out of my hands. All I can do is keep doing the best that I can do and we’ll see what happens, but not getting to go to Ushuaia with Kurt was a little bit heartbreaking and so that heartbreak, that loss, was very difficult, more because of the opportunity for us to experience what it would be like to have an adventure like that for an extended period of time alone together and, you know, see who we are alone together.

I feel a little bit like that got taken, and so I had to turn it around and let go of the idea that that got taken and sort of arrive at the fact that that’s not what’s happening now.

As angry as I am with the claims adjuster for my case who promised me when I was hit we’ll do everything in our power to get you healthy as quickly and as thoroughly and completely as we can, and then stopped paying for treatment about, you know, six months or three months into it.

I can’t dwell on that. All I can do is, you know, continue to ask them politely to pay for my rehabilitation and the things that I need to make me healthy, so here we are. No Ushuaia. It’s all right. No trip to Whistler. We were thinking about going up to Whistler to ride bikes. It’s all right. That’s not going to happen either. No downhill mountain-biking race at Sol Vista. That’s all right.

It was a qualifier for nationals, and I’ll tell you the truth, I was a little curious. I mean, like am I going to be Kitner? No, probably not, but do I want to race downhill more? Heck yeah, man. I love it, and you know what else? I like winning it.

I don’t like winning it necessarily to compete against the other people but to compete against myself. This is a really unique experience for me. Like, I don’t feel like there’s other people out there because it’s not four cross. I’m not competing against them. There’s a clock, there’s a course, and I wonder (a) can I do it and (b) can I do it well.

If I do it well, I will be faster. If not, can I go as fast as I can and stay on my bike, but like how well can I do this and the result has been faster every time, and so now I’m just wildly curious about it and I just want to get after it. So now, anyway, I got myself completely distracted.

None of that stuff is going to happen and so I didn’t go to Soul Vista and I didn’t win and I didn’t win any points and I didn’t get to go to nationals, and it doesn’t really matter. I mean, it doesn’t matter at all, and it’s hard to let go of those disappointments and see that they’re just things that happen or don’t happen, and it’s like that old Chinese story of good luck, bad luck, you know.

Maybe it’s good luck, maybe it’s bad luck. It’s neither. It’s just something that happened, so we moved on and then things were pretty good for a while and I accepted: okay, so you know clearly it’s difficult for me to zip up my sweatshirt and it’s difficult for me to put a ponytail in and it’s difficult for me to use buttons, and it’s starting to be difficult for me to type, so I'm losing strength in my left hand really quickly.

My shoulder’s starting to hurt. I’m losing strength in my shoulder. It’s time. It’s time to do this, and then there was a night when I woke up in the middle of the night by myself and I thought to myself oh my God, what if the pain of the surgery hurts so much that I can’t stand it.

What if it’s beyond my pain tolerance, and saying that now feels really silly because I know I have a big pain tolerance. I had both my kids at home without any drugs. I think they gave me some ibuprofen. You know what I mean? it’s fine.

What else? I had an implant put in my mouth without any Novocaine because I had to give a talk on mental performance coaching that evening and I couldn’t be all numbed up. I needed to be able to speak, so they like drilled a big hole in my jaw and sank a big steel post into it after they packed it with cadaver bone without numbing me up, and that was painful and I was okay.

so like why should cutting my neck open, intubating me, moving my esophagus over, moving all my neck muscles over, cutting up all my discs, taking a big 1-inch by ½-inch disc out of my hip bone and using a hammer to put it in between my vertebra and screwing a titanium plate to it be any worse?

I guess the answer is because oh my God, that’s what they’re doing, and it’s my spine, and it’s scary, and then the next thought that has been sort of dancing around in my head every once in a while is it’s really unlikely that anything will go wrong, but what if something does go wrong and I never see my kids again?

that’s really scary. They are my heart. I lost my dad when I was really young. I was 13 and I still miss him every day, and so I keep going oh shit, maybe it’s not worth it. You know, the percentage chance of something going wrong is so small and they do this all the time and Andy’s fine and it’s all good, but you know I had that thought when I got the instructions for the surgical shower that I have to take every night.

I have to scrub my body in a certain order with this hibicleanse which is an antimicrobial soap. It’s a surgical scrub and I have to put this antibacterial stuff in my nose twice a day to reduce the germs, because I’m preparing not to get an infection around the big, huge hole they’re going to make in my neck, and the idea of getting an infection is so scary.

It’s so scary, and so I’m like, okay I’m just not going to get an infection because that doesn’t happen that often, but I know a couple of people. I know probably five people that have had staph infections and it’s serious, it’s frightening, and a kid I coached, he almost lost his hand because he got a staph infection from swimming in a hotel pool.

It put him in the hospital and he had like major, massive hand surgery and he almost lost his hand, so I think like oh my God, if I get a staph infection in my bone in my neck, like holy cow, what are they going to do, cut my head off?

I mean, maybe we could be refitted with one that’s got a brain, but anyway, so I’m trying to let go of that thought.

It comes back every once in a while. It’s starting to ease. It doesn’t have as much of a hold of me as it did before. Insight spent last night hanging out with Bodhi.

Last night was helpful, but I caught Bodie’s cold a couple of days ago so I haven’t been able to spend as much time with him as I want to because I can’t be sick and go into surgery, so I had a sore throat and felt like shit for about five days, and then Bodie got sicker. He got some diarrhea, so I had to stay away from him and the house and the kids, and so part of me is thinking, like, this might be my last five days with them that I ever see them on this earth, and part of me is thinking: just don’t get sick so that you can be healthy and you survive and thrive and heal and whatever, but it’s interesting.

Even having a rational thought through it, the fear is still there. It’s still sort of stuck in there because I love those boys and I want them to be happy and healthy and have a mom and I want to play with them.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pre surgery ramblings

​Well, I was really hoping to have time to sit down at my computer and write a couple of blog posts this week as I was getting ready to go into surgery, but it's been a very difficult week, so here's going to be kind of the long version and then I'm going to sign off for a couple of days and I will have a friend give you guys updates on how I am doing if you're interested.

So let's see. Andy came up to me a couple of, let's see, what was it three weeks ago, (this is my friend who and my boss who just had a single-level fusion done last year on his neck)... and you know what? I was not supportive enough of him before he had it done. He seemed so together and like it was going to be fine and so, and like I'd heard about other people doing it and he's so strong. It did not occur to me that he might be scared. He hides it really well, and going through this now, looking back at that I think, like I asked him if he needed anything and I asked him if he wanted me to come by, but I never just took the initiative and came by and I wish that I had because looking at it from this end he went through some really tough stuff, and I know he had people supporting him but wow, I wish I had done more.

He's been amazing as I've been heading into this surgery. He has always had a very uncanny insight into when to be brutally honest. It's something I really love and admire about him and I'm so grateful for his friendship because of that quality. Andy always tells me the truth and that's a rare thing, so he had neck fused and a couple of weeks ago he came up to me and he said, "Kate, you are way more depressed and way more scared than you even know right now."

And I looked at him and I was like "What?"

"No, I'm actually doing okay, like I'm handling this."

But you know what? He was, of course, absolutely right. Every evening I sort of have to do this kind of systems check and I realize how stressful this is to, and I want...

Here's the thing.

I want to record what is real about this. I feel like I ought to put up some sort of post that says:

"Okay, going into surgery, feeling really good about it." Which is partially true, but this whole blog was always meant to be some sort of exercise in reality, a log of what it's like to go through the life experiences that get thrown at and kind of what my emotional responses are.

I'm sort of wondering if they're similar to what other people go through. I guess the reason that I write from my own perspective and talk so much about how I'm feeling as I experience the things that happen in my life is because I feel like there's probably a bunch of other people out there that go through a lot of similar things because I do get a lot of emails back from you guys even though there's not a lot of posting commentary.

I feel like that is true, that it's more of a conversation about: Lets be Honest. So I am scared.

At first I was scared of stupid things. At first I was scared that I would be... no, before I was scared I was angry. I was angry because Curt and I were supposed to go to Ushuaia to train for three weeks, and I felt like I had four or five opportunities to go south and train for Chile and then I kept feeling like well, that one didn't pan out but that's okay, you know, we have all of September and all of October, so it's not a big deal.

And then I was really grateful to get to interview with Robin for a job in Portillo and it didn't happen. I didn't end up getting to go, but my best friend did get to go and I was so super psyched for Cindy and I got to kind of live vicariously through her posts and her beautiful pictures. And i got to hear from my friend, Andrew Rumpf, who got hired over there.

Between the two of them to just like experience their joy and how cool it was to be in that community and have that job and learn to speak another language better, like it was, that was a very, very cool thing.

I was so stoked for Cindy and she's such a beautiful person, she has a just a beautiful smile and such a beautiful spirit and watching her really grow into herself over the summer was just rad, and I was really, really excited to see that and when she came back we had lunch and I was like, oh my God, tell me all about it, you know, tell me everything.

And she had grown and become and it was awesome to see. It felt like this is so good, you know, like however it's meant to be, it's meant to be. I mean I don't really believe in fate but I do believe in acceptance.

I believe In accepting what comes toward you and then looking for the next lesson or path out of that, so for that reason I don't really believe in blame or judgment or criticism or jealousy or using somebody else's life experiences to reflect against your own and say, like when Cindy got hired I didn't feel like oh, you know, goddamn it, I didn't feel jealous of Cindy.

I felt really happy for Cindy, so I thought to myself like okay, well now, you know, this is Cindy's time so let's see what I can learn from her experience there and then I will make my own experience at another place, like clearly it just wasn't meant to happen in Portillo this year, so it was great to enjoy her experience and then and Andrew's experience and to talk to Robin a little about the season was going just briefly.

They're so busy, but to get to connect a little bit with those folks there. I was hoping to go out there with some clients and then that didn't pan out, but I'm sure that they had a great time with whoever they ended up skiing with because the Portillo ski school is well done, so, and I was like, you know when that didn't happen I just felt like well, you know, all right, no worries, so that's not how that was meant to happen, and I need practice putting together overseas trips and how to take clients on them and over time I'm sure I'll learn how to do that, because it's something that I'm interested in doing.

but anyway, I know this is rambly and I'm not going to get to edit it, so welcome to Kate's brain, like a little bit stressed out the day before surgery, but there are some things I want to say so thanks for sticking with me.

Anyway, so then I was like okay, well let's go to Portillo and then Kurt said​ why don't we go to Ushuaia, which is this wonderful really little place that nobody really knows about. It's the farthest south you can go and still have a chair lift and it's near Patagonia, which is dear to my heart.

I was fortunate enough to go see the premiere of 180 Degrees South and get to meet Yvon Chouinard and I went with Bill Briggs. I was his date for the premiere there and got to go and talk to Yvon and Bill and stand there, before the movie in this little group of people and hear the two of them talk about how life changes and how opportunities change, and I heard Yvon say to Bill: "well I don't climb anymore. It hurts my hands too much and so now I fish."

and I was thinking about what it would be like for somebody like Yvon to have his passion go away, and then while I was listening to them I was thinking about what it was like for Bill when he was going to, he was the first guy to ski Mount Rainier and he thought that it was going to be the last thing he ever skied, because of his injury.

He was born with a piece missing in his hip and in that year, I think it was 1976, 1971, 1976 something like that, he was in so much pain that he had to stop skiing, so he had a surgery planned to have his hip fused together and so his friends took him up Rainier and he skied it, and he skied it thinking it was going to be his last ski ever.

He had to climb the mountain and then ski back down it and it was a first descent with a group of people of like 10 or 12 of his friends and then had to cross some crevasses and they were really worried about him, and he was roped to another skier and he jumped a crevasse and the rope wasn't long enough and they almost lost him down the crevasse, and he's such a beautiful and excellent skier still to this day even though he has had his hip fused.

when Bill was going through this he thought to himself, this is the last time I'll ever do my favorite thing. They didn't think he'd walk let alone ski, they just were trying to take him out of pain and, of course, after he recovered.

He met a yoga instructor in New York who also practiced Scientology, and Bill started doing yoga and got strong and started to develop a deep belief in Scientology and his faith and his yoga practice helped him to find some inner strength that changed his understanding and his life.

He got strong again, and of course became the first man ever to ski the Grand Teton and he did it by himself, he climbed it and he skied it, but anyway, so I'm standing there at this premiere and I'm watching these two legends talk about loss and about what it's like to know that the thing that has inspired you and fired you and fueled you is gone.

I didn't really know what the movie 180 Degrees South was about that time because I hadn't seen it yet. I was in town to see Bill and have lunch and spend some time with him and get to know him better, and so it was just sort of a happy accident that I ended up standing in this group of people beforehand, and of course I made some sort of ridiculous comment to Yvon.

(you know as I'm fishing frantically in my head, I think honestly it's the first time ever in my life I've ever been starstruck, when I was like: this is the guy that lived in his camper and ate rates and lived in Camp 4 and invented, like put curved tips on ice axes so we can climb over hanging ice and like ooooohhh my God what do you say to this man,)

and so I asked him when I found out that he couldn't climb anymore, that he had stopped climbing years ago because his hands hurt too much. I asked him oh well, have you ever been helicopter fishing? and I've never been helicopter fishing, I have no desire to go helicopter fishing.

First of all, I'm a vegetarian. And I think I have all of the same values that this eco-friendly, eco-conscious company that I really admire does and he looks at me and he's like "nope, that's too rich for my blood" and I'm thinking to myself as soon as I say it I'm like

"oh my God, like Kate, you moron, like how could you say something like that to a person who's like: we should use less fuel, but anyway, so that was my moment of ultimate stupidity because I don't know anything about fishing, so I didn't know what else to tell him, like isn't fishing fun, yea!"

so then I just stopped talking which was a gift because I got to listen to these two old friends talk about loss. I feel right now like I am facing loss, but it's not nearly of that scale, but it feels deeper than I ever thought that it would for several reasons.

First of all, I've been training for six years to see if I could do this experiment, like can a normal person with a normal amount of money, and sometimes less than a normal amount of money, train hard enough to make their body strong enough and gain a deep enough technical understanding and foundation to do something extraordinary with their body, like compete against the top, whatever, 50 ski instructors in the country and have a viable physical ability to do it, and I feel so very much like that possibility for me was robbed by this car accident and I feel like I've spent the last three years fighting that feeling as hard as I can so that I don't blame somebody else, or I don't live in the what if, but I just live in the okay here's where we are now, now what. Let's move forward, let's be proactive, let's be intelligent, let's be strong, all of those kinds of things.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I hereby abdicate my responsibility to YOU! You fix it!

If its scary to go to yoga because you have a belly, go anyway. Find your place of benefit, get over yourself and get to work Yup, that's me. Yup, my belly goes to Yoga with me. (photo Abbie Wade, Studio: Arjuna Yoga Aspen, Yoga Clothes: Heidi Hat)
Humans want something better. Humans want clarity. Humans want to feel that there is purpose to them. To their being. We all strive for it, but today, we have somehow learned that striving means hiring someone else. To strive well means to hire the best person to help. And while help is good, and educated help is a good path through nonsense into what really works, we forget that we ourselves, ultimately, are the ones that have to do the work.

Most of us want to abdicate our responsibility for healing, our mind, body, soul, energy, lifestyle, contentment, to an outside source.

When that outside source is a pill, the scientist who produced it is the hero. As in, I have high blood pressure, so rather than looking at what I may be doing in my life to cause it, what changes I can make over time to change that, and what healthier choices I can make in other areas that I implement myself, I will go to the doctor and ask him to fix it.  He will give me a pill, which I will take, which will fix it.

Shit. I'm still fat and unhappy.

I can totally take my "make my life better" pills every day. As long as they are easy to take, someone else reminds me to do it, and they don't make me too uncomfortable. Wait, this might be too hard, too.
Perhaps I will hire a personal trainer. And then abdicate my responsibility to that person. I've shown up at the gym for three weeks, three times a week. I have gotten slightly uncomfortable picking up heavy stuff and putting it back down over and over, and then I got slightly sweaty and uncomfortable walking on the treadmill in certified workout clothes for twenty minutes, but I'm still not skinny, so clearly either this doesn't work, the trainer isn't as dedicated as I am, or there must be some sort of medical procedure I can do that will short cut this. Because I've done the hard work and nothing is happening.

Guess what? I play this game with myself all the time. I have a fine pair of running shoes. There is a road right outside my house. I don't need a trainer to get fit. If I can run for 20 minutes a day on the pavement by myself, I will be more fit. This is a free activity. This activity increases "feel good" hormones, reduces stress hormones, raises my heart rate just enough to help ward off heart disease, increases cardiac stroke volume, gets me outside, and I come home feeling like I've really ACCOMPLISHED SOMETHING. And yet. It is hard to do.

Because I have to do it alone, because its "uncomfortable" because because its easier to sit on the couch and wish I was fit and then be the slowest person on the hut trip every time we go because I refuse to take responsiblity for my own training, health and happiness. I may even blame my slowness on the hut trip on the weight of my pack or on my neck injury rather than telling the truth to myself, and to my friends, (I sat on the couch all day and ate ice cream instead of going for a run). Its easier than having to look in the mirror and see the fact that I DESIRE to abdicate my responsibility for my health and well being to a trainer who can hold me accountable.

If only I had someone to hold me accountable... I'm sure I could get so much more done...
 And then there is therapy. I'm unhappy, so I'm going to go to a therapist. And because I've paid my money to the therapist, that should be enough, she should do her job and I should feel better. And if I don't after six weeks, months, or years, its either the fault of the therapist, or I'm so happy just to have someone listen to me finally, that I feel better from speaking when I've been silent, but I refuse to realize that there is a deeper level that begins and ends with my willingness to look at me.

And then there is body work. Lay down on the table and have someone else relax you. Have someone else fix the pain. If you leave feeling better, the body worker is good. If you don't, find someone else. A body worker can be skilled in energetics, intuition, physical modalities... but they are still just a facilitator for you to take responsibility for seeing or feeling what you are holding, being willing to look at it, being willing to let it go, being willing to let it heal. A good practitioner makes that easier. Just like a good therapist. Or a good ski instructor. But ultimately, YOU are the one doing the work.

My point, and its not a new one, is that whether its religion, or science, sport, or psychotherapy, or art, or nutrition, when we are wishing for change, we have to put that wish into action.

"Its easy to want. Wanting is the easy part." Kurt repeats this at all the times when I want to kick him in the shins for saying it. Usually because I say I want to be a good enough skier to be a viable candidate for this team of instructors, and I'm not willing in that moment to work hard enough to get strong enough to ski well enough to realize that dream. So he is, of course, right.

Creating change often starts with FEAR.

Cave or learn. Your choice.

You have to look right at who you are. And how clearly you are willing to see who you are will change over time, and with practice. At first, when you look at who you really are, how others see you, what you hide from yourself, you will have a strange and skewed perspective of reality.

Because the reality of who you are, what motivations that you have come from a sound, and true place, a place of integrity, and what of your motivations come from old, deep coping, or a desire not to see what is ugly in yourself, is very heavily influenced in its form by how willing you are to see and accept what is in front of you without judgement.

I see six blades of grass sitting on the closed cover of a book.

I see a willingness to bend the truth in certain, but not all situations.

The grass was most probably pulled from the lawn on which the book sits, its proximity, the freshness of the grass and similarity of the blades tell me this is a probability.

The willingness to bend the truth most probably comes from a proclivity of one of my parents to punish me equally no matter how great the lie or truth was, making it safer to lie.

The lesson I can take from the blades of grass is to see, dispassionately and with clarity, that which is real and true before me.


The lesson I can take from the lie is to LOOK FOR the fear coming up, the deep and subtle signs that have been integrated for so long, catch it as it comes up, recognize it, dispassionately and with clarity, and do my best to own that this is me, my pattern that I now own, no matter how it became programmed in my mind, find that I have choice, and choose differently.

This lesson must be diligently repeated over and over until the pattern, the neuro-pathways that the mind follows when it is challenged in this way that makes it desire to follow the old patterns which appear to be safe, viable options. If you don't repeat this lesson, a willingness to walk down the dark hallway even though you are scared of the dark, over and over and over again until your mind believes that there is no boogey man there, congratulations, you have just abdicated your responsibility for healing to a pathway your frightened mind chose when it was trying to protect you in a moment of crisis.

Just because it is your pattern does not mean it is the only way.

And for real change to occur, most of the time, we have to be more than "slightly uncomfortable". Our bodies, for thousands of years, and even today in most countries, are designed for toil and hardship. Unless you are diabetic, it is not going to kill you to feel hungry.

To feel tired, over exerted, full of lactic acid, full of fear. To be a bit too cold or a bit too hot.

We live in a country, and many of us live in towns, where we are no less than five minutes from a coffee shop at any given moment. The safety net is there. There is a warm, dry place.

Do not become an amalgam of your fears, of things that have happened "to" you, of patterns you follow because this happened "to" you. Let go of your need for it to be someone elses fault. Let go of your need to watch someone who is successfully living the way you wish you could live and assuming it was easy for them to get there.

Wishing is easy. I wish I was as virile as this guy. Clearly, he can leap tall buildings in a single bound because he is fit, happy, independently wealthy and has all the time he wants for training. (Or am I making some assumptions here?)
Now you are abdicating your responsibility for change via blame on someone ELSE for doing what YOU should, could, want to be doing. But because you see someone who is fit and healthy, (emotionally, spiritually, physically, whatever), you chose not to see them as the mirror they can be, the impetus for change. (It IS POSSIBLE, here is proof), but to see them as a barrier.

(I can never be like that, I am fat and they are thin. They don't have kids and I do. I have a job I have to work 16 hours a day at, so I can't go to class.)


The person who is fit is you. You are the same. You are both humans making choices.

Can you become an ultra marathon runner if you are 37 and have three kids? Sure. It might be really hard and throw a lot of the rest of your life out of balance and cost a bunch of money and take some time away from your kids. You have to decide if that's really what you want or not.

But don't say you can't because you work too much, or you are just "big boned" or its too hard.

If its too hard, quit whining that its what you wish you could do. Wishing out loud you could be "like that person" but doing nothing, or something, but really, just lip service, and finding no results is again, abdicating your responsibility.

My step father taught me a lesson that I am grateful to have learned. The buck stops here.

Bonk. Often, this is how we feel in reality, even if we look like six pack guy up top there. This is okay, too. This is part of the human experience. Don't let it bury you, own you, or dictate. Find the lesson this is trying to teach you, recognize that implementing that lesson is YOUR responsibility, and get to work.
No one is going to take responsibility for your mistakes, errors and bad judgements. Ultimately, you decide to man up and stand in front of the board and the investors (in your case the board and the investors might just be your internal critic and your shrink), and say, yes. That was a decision that I made, which caused this series of bad things to happen, and I own the responsibility for that decision, and the actions that followed.

You do not try to shirk your responsibility, search desperately for someone to shed some blame on. You grow stronger standing on top of every decision you make with ownership. This is courage.

Is it incredibly scary to do this? Of course it is! No one said it wouldn't be! Just like lacing up running shoes the first fifteen times is scary. Just like showing up to yoga when you have a fat belly that rolls over your yoga pants is scary. Just like telling the truth when you want to lie. Just like letting someone love you when you feel you don't deserve love.

These are all opportunities for you to own it, to look at it, to absorb it as your own, to see yourself clearly, to be willing to look for, and learn the lesson by getting after it again, and again, and again, until the new truth, and probably the next lesson, is revealed to you through your hard, uncomfortable, relentlessly never ending hard work towards being whole, better, balanced and real.

Let me be clear here. Seek out and ask for help. Be curious. Learn. Hire expert help. And then incorporate and follow their advice. Make it your own. Look at your responsibility in this. Be willing to be accountable. Be willing to suffer. Be willing to be present. Because then you are taking action toward that thing you were "wanting".

Now you are doing. Becoming. Growing. Nice work.

Alright. Rant over. There's more about the religion of touch, food, exercise, and the cult of things that soothe my ego, (everything is religion) but that's another post. Have a nice day, I'm going to take my fat ass to YOGA!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I get by with a little help from my friends.

Its an interesting exercise, for sure, to be present in this moment and not wish it was any different than it is. Sometimes, I'm more successful than others.

I don't spend time wishing my neck wasn't injured, I've been facing that one for a few years, and its become a fact that just is. And looking at how to keep living, and living full and well, has been the task, rather than wishing that it didn't hurt.

I do think that over the years when the doctors told me that I probably would eventually need surgery as the disc continued to degrade, especially if I couldn't do things like Pilates and Yoga on a regular basis, I believed "someday" was, you know... some day. Not, like, next week.

So I have some renewed sympathy for my friend Andy who went through this, and who was told, wow, we are operating on you tomorrow. Talk about an abrupt adjustment.

And that's nothing to a couple of my friends who went from walking, and talking and climbing to living permanently in a wheel chair in a matter of seconds.

So I'm not feeling too sorry for myself, but I am sort of wandering around watching myself adjust to these new ideas about how my body is now in this moment, how it will be in ten days, and four days after that, and two weeks after that, and six weeks after that, and three months after that.

I feel like if we were entering ski season now, I am entering it with more strength, endurance, better balance, focus and a softer, more playful energy. I feel so grounded in my family, with my kids, with my relationships, I don't feel like I'm wondering and chasing answers. I feel like I just am.

But then there is this thing, that the muscles in and around my thumb and shoulder are atrophying, and it brings with it this knowledge that its not a good thing for the motor nerve to be impinged.

So, first, we'll go get that fixed. Then, we'll heal and put skis on.

The head games in this place are funny, they all start with "what if", which is a form of wishing, or projecting, or not being present. What if I get fat, what if I get weak, what if i lose all my body has learned, what if it hurts more than i can handle? What if I wake up and I'm such a pain to be around that I lose those I depend on? What if I'm so much of a pain to be around that I can't stand to be around me? What if the pain killers don't work? What if they work too well? What if I'm all alone? (When has that ever been a bad lesson to learn?)

Of course so many of these questions are fantasy, projections of a fearful human mind trying to predict the outcome of something that is a bit beyond its comprehension. Really? You are going to cut my neck open and use a saw on my spine after you take a huge plug out of my hip and I'll be skiing in six weeks? For real?

Quite possibly. Breathe out. Let whatever happens, will happen. In the meantime, I'm so grateful to have found that I have a family here in Aspen that is so much bigger than I ever knew.

02Aspen has been amazing, offering me the Pilates room, and Jen, one of their awesome Pilates instructors, has agreed to help strengthen me every day until surgery, and then help get me strong and back on my feet after.

While I was there today, I had a wonderful visit with some of my girlfriends who work there, and got treated to a nice spa treatment by the incredible Darcy.

I left thinking, wow, these little things that we do for each other make a difference in whether we feel boyancy or fear. There are so many more pressing issues than whether I have nicely sculpted brows or not going into surgery, but feeling clean, and cared for before hand took up some of the time in which my monkey mind wants to wonder, and made a space where I felt really cared for.

So I'm ten days out. I'm trying to find milestones along the way that include getting projects done for the ski season, getting ink done on my tattoo, getting my house clean, getting to walk holding hands along the river. Getting to yoga and Pilates because the help is there and i feel like I am making a positive choice towards how strong I am when I go in.

Thank you to my friends for your support and love and care, I am so very grateful to you.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Two level traditional fusion, no artificial disc for me.

So State Farm, the insurance company for the dude who rear ended me almost four years ago now, stopped paying for my medical stuff a long time ago. (They offered to settle my case for $17,000) Can you imagine if I had done that? $17,000 didn't even cover my medical expenses at the time, let alone massage, accupuncture, PT, Fibromyalgia management (life long) and the fact that the discs that were damaged in the accident were going to continue to degrade over time.

So now they are degraded to the degree that I've lost much of my motor nerve at c5/6 and c6/7, and am facing a $75,000 surgery. YAY, I have health insurance through my work as a ski instructor. YAY, they agree, the surgery is necessary, and they are paying for it.

Boo, the artificial disc replacement at c6/7, which will give me more mobility, faster healing, and less of a lever arm to create pressure on the healthy discs above and below, is "too experimental", and so my private insurance won't pay for it. Full fusion from c5-7 is now the deal-i-o.

What a bummer! I mean, first, yay that I have insurnace and they are going to pay for it (excpet for the $25,000 celing on hospital expenses and the $1600 copay I have to come up with, but lets cross that bridge in a second.)

I was pretty psyched to be a hybrid and to go for this surgery which has a TERRIFIC track record and helps people have much more mobility and much chance for needing further surgery in the future. So, onward we go, 2 level fusion, which means I can't play in the NFL (you can with a 1 level), but I can play tackle football.


Not planning to play tackle football unless it involves a fluffy mattress and a bunch of jello, but that's another story.

I found an amazing Pilates instructor who is willing to send her bills to State Farm and hope they pay her, we are going to spend the next 10 days trying to get my neck and core as strong as it can get.

My lovely friend Janice, who is a chef, has decided to do the same thing to help me eat for healing, I'm hoping that she will post recipies and etc for you guys here on the blog in case that's helpful for anyone else who is recovering from injury.

Stay tuned, I'm sure it will only get gorier from here. Meanwhile... I'm trying to get set up and ready to go under the knife, getting my home and my friends lined up, getting my sexay new skis mounted so I can lay there and stare at them while they motivate me to get my ass healed. Whoops, I mean my neck!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

VIDEO! Fusion at C5/6, Replacement at C6/7

Here's my very own doctor showing me exactly what they are going to do. First, a full fusion with a bone graft from my hip at level C5/6:

And then, a disc replacement at C6/7:

10 days and counting, I'm really looking forward to feeling so much better and getting back outside!!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Double Disc-ectomy rather than skiing in Ushuaia.

Ethan rides Gravity Logic for the first time. Yeah, it was a pretty good day!
Alllrighty. Here's the deal. The plan was to race in Sol Vista in the last DH Mtn Bike race of the year, then head to Ushuaia for three weeks of training with Kurt. We were planing to write an article on Ski and Surf, so were going to stop at Witch's Rock in Costa Rica for a week of surfing, then be back home in time for fall training.

Unfortunately, about three weeks ago, I had to stop doing massage all together because two motor nerves in my left hand have become impinged by my herniated discs in my neck from my car accident in 2008.

So being unemployed and unable to use my hand for anything other than hanging onto the handlebars, Kurt suggested that I go get an opinion. Motor nerves and loss of strength are significant.

I headed in to Dr. St. John, who I had seen before after my ski fall, and he told me it looked like it was progressive degeneration from the car accident, and it was probably time for a 2 level disc ectomy and fusion.

The mighty Flynn, Fastest DH racer in the Roaring Fork, schools Kate on the Vapor Trail at Snowmass.
I did not really want this to be true, so I trundled on for a while, and then my hand failed at pulling zippers and buttoning buttons, so I called for a second opinion from Dr. Corenman from Steadman Hawkins clinic in Vail.

He did my boss's fusion last year, and treated another friend of mine very conservatively, waiting as long as possible before surgery.

I went in and we did a new MRI, x rays and a full interview and workup again. Guess what? "I don't care about pain, and numbness and tingling, but when the motor nerve is impinged and you lose strength, it is possible that your strength will not recover fully. The longer you go, the higher the chance that you won't recover fully."

I felt suddenly like I was looking down the barrel of a gun. This is real.

Its really happening, and its happening now. No Ushuaia. No summer training. I may not be healed for fall training. I will be coming off of a two level fusion in the year of the tryout that I've been training for for six years.

What if I get fat? What if I get weak? What if I get FAT AND WEAK? What if I end up after surgery in the same place I was in six years ago?

Oh my God, it took me so long to climb out of that hole and get where I am, I had to work so hard (and I could have worked harder), is this possible?

I asked Dr. Corenman if I could wait to the end of the season, if I could race Sol Vista.

He told me that I could, that I had to decide if I was willing to risk another Chin Up fall (which could paralyze me since I have some spinal stenosis now), and if I was willing to risk that my hand might not come back.

I drove the rest of the way to Denver and laid down on the table at Think Tank Tattoo. I got a beautiful story put on my arm, a love story, one I've wanted for a long time, and I sat there feeling the pain in my arm over ride the ever present pain in my neck and shoulder.

I did not know what to do.

The work of Sam at Think Tank. Color comes in two weeks. In the meantime, its just what I needed.
The next day, I went and rode at Snowmass, I had three great laps, and then my left hand slipped off the handlebar. I was weak. It was time to quit.

I went up to Basecamp and was hit full in the face with a wave of sadness that I was not expecting. The sadness was so heavy that I couldn't stay awake. I laid down in the sun on the big black bench up there and fell asleep for an hour and a half.

When I woke up, it wasn't any better, because I woke up and started crying.

It was time to wash away the denial that this is as bad as it is, and face reality. There will be no more DH Mtn bike races for me this year, and I need surgery. Now.

I called the Dr. and asked to get on the surgical roster. I got scheduled for a nerve block to see if we really need to do two levels or one, and I headed home.

Ethan rocks the DH bike over his first bridge. This kid can ride!
The next night, in a fit of absolute denial and ludicrous defiance, I signed up for the race on line. I went out the next day and trained with The Mighty Flynn, we rode the Vapor trail and worked on cornering. It was the fastest run I've ever made, I made huge changes in my cornering and ability to pump the track.

One run and my hand was toast.

I asked Kurt if I should race, he looked at me in that special way that he does which tells me that I'm being insane and unrealistic. "If falling on your face can paralyze you, I wouldn't do anything that will let you do that."

"But its not likely that I'll fall on my face."

Silent stare.

I know. I don't want to admit it, but I know.

I stayed signed up, knowing all the while that there was no way I could go.

Nerve block on Tuesday the 6th. The day after the race. Which I could not go to. What a pity party. Don't you think that having a functional left hand is more important than any race, tryout, training???  Why wasn't I able to get past this idea that I was looking at the end of my life?

I stayed off the DH bike for a few days, did some short road rides, got myself to Bikram Yoga every day, and tried to look squarely at the idea that I now needed to be focused on getting as strong as I could so that I could recover well. This was going to happen and no amount of wishing was going to change that.

My friend Weems has been through surgery after surgery, and here I am complaining about one. ACLs have been done all year, so many people go through this. But I was still so sad and scared. And unemployed. The high season is ending no one is hiring for desk work during the slow season.

I stared into the sadness of missing training with Kurt in Patagonia. We had these beautiful plans, plane tickets, passports, a writing gig, enough money saved... it was not only possible, it was finally finally finally going to happen.

I rode the last two days of the lift served Mtn Biking season with Ethan, who rode the Gravity Logic freeride trail for the first time and absolutely rocked it, and with some friends from the Bike school. I took one big kid run, and that was enough for my hand.

The needle goes in, the dye goes in, the nerve turns black, the lidocane goes in, the steroid goes in. Ew.
Tuesday, we took off for Frisco at 4:45 in the morning and got all ready for the nerve block. Two injections into my facet space at c5/6 and c6/7, done two hours apart, with no anesthesia. I couldn't get knocked out because we needed me to be away to notice the subtle differences in order to decide if we were going to do surgery on one level or two.

I laid there and watched in the reflection as Dr. Dickstien at Peak One Surgery Center slid a needle through the front of my neck and into my spine. First he injected a dye that the x ray machine could read, then some lidocane all around the impinged nerve. Then, for good measure, he added some small amount of steroid to try to give me some relief until my surgery, happening on September 19.

I was quite nervous before the first injection, and just as the numbing needle was coming toward my neck, the most awesome thing happened. "Fat Bottomed Girls" came on the stereo. Now I love this song, and its on my "hero" mix for getting amped to ski to. It was recently used in the "Best Ski Movie Ever Made", The Claim from Matchstick Productions. Sean Pettit kisses his big fat powder skis and then proceeds to ski the most fun, fluffy, bouncy, silly powder ever. I laid there thinking of how this is just part of the path, part of the lesson, part of my growth, and that I want to ski like that.

I listened to the song, hero mix for a new reason now, and in went the needle. "I love this song!" I said to Dr. Dickstien.

"Me, too." He answered. And then the dull crunch of the needle as it passed through the fascia and musculature, and then the pressure through my shoulder as the nerve was surrounded.

The first injection was amazing, suddenly my pain was gone. My thumb was numb, but my pain was gone. After a few minutes, I realized I still had a headache and pain down my spine, but my shoulder was all better and most of my neck.

Its real, post injection, time to face facts.
I slept for two hours out of exhaustion from fear, curled up around Kurt's down jacket, and then back we went again. The second one was deeper, harder, and much more uncomfortable. The needle was near a nerve and needed to be repositioned. The pressure in my collar bone and pec was unreal. The burn as the Lidocane went in was intense. And then my other fingers went numb. And for the first time in three years, my headache went away.

It worked. Unfortunately, that means that we need to do both discs.

"How do you feel?" The nurse asked.

"All better." I said.

"Oh good!" said the nurse.

I felt the tears coming. "Not really, that means we probably need surgery on both discs."

"Oh. I'm so sorry."

Screw the tears. Feeling sorry for myself does NOT change anything. And yeah, I wanted to go train. And yeah, its a bummer that the four chances I had to go this summer didn't pan out. And yeah, whatever. But here we are. Its time to quit pretending and get to work.

So, surgery. Kurt came back and looked at me.
This helped! If you are in Frisco, eat here!!

"You ok?" he asked.

"Yes. I am." I said, and for the first time in a couple of months, I meant it.

We went outside, there's a great new bike park right across from the hospital that Kurt took a bunch of photos of, and then wandered around town, looking for a place to eat. We found amazing Nepali food at a $7 buffet in town, I broke my fast on Dal Bhat, and turned my focus inside to reality rather than wishing.

It turned into an incredibly nice day, we took our time visiting bike shops, walking around in the rain, seeking refuge at the Bookworm in Eagle, CO where we had coffee and read for a while, visited the bike shop and the farmer's market in Glennwood springs, and finished the day by watching a horrible B- movie about a female assassin. Mindless entertainment. Perfect. It had been an incredibly long day.

This morning, I woke up feeling good. My neck is sore for sure from the injections, but I know my path and I'm at peace with it. I got on the bike and rode as fast as I could to the grocery store, and it felt good not to be in pain for the first time in a very very long time. My hand is still totally weak, but for the next few days, I should be pain free. (Although as of this writing I can feel it creeping back in my neck).

Twelve days left. At c5/6 we are doing a full fusion with titanium plate, at c6/7 I will get a disc replacement. I'll be a hybrid!

I'm strategizing about how to get myself up to do some reading and writing while I recover. My amazing friend and gourmet organic chef, Janice has agreed to make me nutrient dense food in the right amount to keep the weight off.

My tryout skis and boots came today. Movement Analysis starts next Monday. Life is moving forward, and so am I.

This year, I am SO excited to be skiing for Tecnica/Blizzard, and today, my skis and boots came! I chose this ski specifically for tryouts, its the Blizzard 8.7 Magnum in 174 length. It has early rise and is 87 underfoot with an 18.5 m turning radius.

It seems like a long radius and a titch wide underfoot and a titch long, but I have heard great things that it skis shorter because of the early rise, and having loved the Crush for so long, which is a very pivoty ski, I'm looking forward to  getting on these babies!

Because its a tryout year, I got two of the same pair so that if I do get invited to tryouts, and I break a pair, I have a backup. This and the G-Force from last year, narrower underfoot and 1m smaller turn radius, should be the whole quiver for the tryout.

I'm in the Diablo Inferno in a 130 flex again this year for boots, I went up a size, the race fit was killing my feet, and while it transmits energy so efficiently to the ski, I like my toenails an awful lot!

Cross your fingers and here we go!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Alpine Skiing with Ron Kipp

The book is coming out this month! Pre order your copy now!

More than 2,000 ski areas in 57 countries offer fun and excitement to people of all ages—from young children to retirees. Whether you’ve never stood on skis or you’re looking to improve your basic skills, you can depend on Alpine Skiing to help you hit the slopes.

In Alpine Skiing, Ronald Kipp, alpine sport education manager for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, introduces novice skiers to the basics of the sport, assists intermediate skiers in refining skills, and advises experts in specialized situations. He prepares you for your adventure with information on conditioning, selecting equipment, and familiarizing yourself with the skiing environment. You’ll then find easy-to-follow instruction on skiing fundamentals, such as the wedge turn, the christie and edging skills, parallel turns, and dynamic parallel skiing. You will find additional guidance on the more challenging moguls, powder skiing, tree skiing, and racing slopes.

Throughout the book Kipp shares consumer, technique, and safety tips collected from his years of experience as both a skier and an instructor. He also provides valuable information on travel and trip planning, including choosing a ski area and accommodations, packing, and flying with your gear. Lists of websites will help you find ski instructors and organizations, shop for equipment and gear, and plan trips around the world. Each chapter also includes Success Check questions that will help you test your skiing knowledge.

Alpine Skiing is part of the Outdoor Adventures series, which provides you with the essential information on basic techniques and skills so you can be on your way to an adventure in no time.

A note to my massage clients while I am unable to work:

To my wonderful clients! I’m sorry that right now I am unable to practice massage. I have impinged the motor nerve on my left hand from a herniated disc in my neck, which happened in a car accident a long time ago. The injury has gotten worse over time, and now I lack the use of my left hand.

I go in for surgery on September 21, and should be back to work six weeks later. I look forward to working on you all again, and will miss you while I am gone!

In the mean time, please call these very capable and wonderful therapists!

Erica Boulangee, Beyond Massage Aspen 970-274-8717
Andie Rubel, Chiropractic, Massage, Acupuncture 970-948-5123

Thank you and see you in the fall!