Appetite for Destruction

Winter sports seem particular insane to me. Maybe it's because our minds are addled by the lack of sunlight, but somehow we become convinced that snow is actually a soft and forgiving substance, forgetting the rocks, trees and general hardness of the underlying surface. Just ask the freestyle skier who just head-planted on national television exactly how soft the snow is.

We decide to hurl ourselves down a steep incline on some device that serves to reduce the life preserving friction that normally exists between man and mountain. At least in the case of skiing and snowboarding, we have some control over the sliding that necessarily ensues, but not so in sledding. Of course, none of this would be a problem, if it weren't for gravity.

Let me illustrate.

Before: and After:

Or, in a similar fashion:

Normally I refrain from sledding, because I don't want to get hurt in the middle of snowboard season. I relented this time, and I must say that there's something particularly wonderful about screaming your way down a mountain with reckless abandon.

The coupe de drace, though, wasn't captured on film -- and a good thing, too because I'd never live it down. On the day's fastest sled, I took a running start and jetted down the white surface. I deftly avoided the bigger bumps that would threaten to separate me from the sled. (Odd, isn't it, that we clutch so tightly onto the thing that is responsible for our rapid descent?)

I sailed past my friends at the base of the hill with surprising momentum. It was then that I noticed the four wheeler parked directly in my path. Thinking that I'd slow down now that I was on the flat, I contentedly watched the driver taking pictures of his kids. Totally unaware of my speed, I closed the gap much fast than I anticipated. I rolled off to the side, but much, much too late. My shoulder collided with the front left tire of the ATV with more force than I care to remember. It was then that the father pulled his face from the camera's viewfinder, looked down at me sprawled and moaning, and said, "Oh! ... I thought I felt it move."