Tobogganizizing is dangerous!

Last night a few of us headed over to the nearby tobogganizizing hill for some gravity-based winter activity. It wasn’t really tobogganizizing since we didn’t have an actual toboggan. But I was excited about trying out my new sled – a fancy looking thing branded by “Ski-doo” that looks more like a mini surfboard than a snow sled (it’s exactly like this one but with different colors). We also took the plastic two-seater and a blue plastic disk that’s just barely big enough to sit on with your legs crossed.

The hill was icy, which is good if you want to go fast, but it’s lousy if you have any hope of steering yourself as you zoom down the hill. That’s not a concern on the blue disk, as you can never steer that thing anyway, but I was hoping to steer the two-seater and the new Ski-doo.

Not a chance. On the first run, I slammed into one of the banks that divides the runs and popped right over it into the next lane. Then I flew over its bank and into the third lane. On the next run, I ran over a hard chunk of ice that felt like a punch in the stomach followed by a knee to the groin.

I managed a few decent runs, and then disaster struck; I tried sitting on the Ski-doo instead of laying on it, but all that did was spin me around so I was going backwards. I leaned back to try to straighten out and somehow the collar of my jacket got snagged on something and I basically did a backwards somersault at what felt like 100 kilometers an hour, snapping my neck in a way that should have left me a quadriplegic.

Surprisingly, it barely hurt. Undeterred, I tried doing a run on the disk. Half way down the hill, I saw a kid in the next lane running – with her back to the hill – at a diagonal across the lanes. According to my hastily calculated triangulation, we would collide in about three seconds, so I started yelling my ass off (no hope of steering or even stopping), and she finally heard at the last second and changed her trajectory. Then I scraped against the icy bank at full speed, almost sheering off the middle finger of my right hand.

More! A couple of runs later, I managed to go all the way down the hill on the unsteerable disk without hitting a bank or a person. I went the full length of the run, for the first time, and had raised my arms in triumph. I was going backwards, just starting to slow down, when it occurred to me to check what was at the end of the run. I looked just in time to see a row of hay bales rapidly approaching. They were half buried, so in fact they only stuck out of the ground about ten inches. I hit the bales at a pretty good clip while sitting up and going backwards. Imagine my surprise when I found out they were frozen solid and were as hard as concrete. Slam! My ass came to an immediate full stop, but the rest of my upper body kept moving, essentially laying me flat across the rock-hard bale at an angle the should have fractured my vertebrae about four inches above my butt-crack.

After the stars cleared and I realized I could, indeed, stand up. I limped back up the hill for another run. A few runs later we decided to call it a night. So I got on the disk and set out for the grand finale. I went to the steepest and fasted hill and let fly. Everything went perfectly until I leveled out at the bottom at full speed and then started drifting off to the side. I was going backwards again, so I couldn’t see what was coming. I turned around and saw that I was heading straight for an icy ridge that seemed to come out of nowhere. I had about half a second to brace myself.

I expected the ridge to act like a ramp and launch me, disk and all, in a graceful arc that might actually end nicely. Instead, it was like hitting a land mine. There was an explosion of stars and I was catapulted vertically, arms and legs flailing, and came down with a crash.

Oh, the pain! I don’t know if it was a twist or a direct impact, but my left foot felt like it had been run over by a truck. I limped home, drank an unusual quantity of wine with dinner, and eventually got around to putting some ice on it. (Perhaps I should have gone with the ice first thing…)

Today my foot is swollen and bruised, but it only hurts when I try to walk. Ouch. So remember, kids – tobogganizizing is dangerous!

21 thoughts on “Tobogganizizing is dangerous!

  1. You might entertain the slight possibility that you’re getting too old for this ;-)

  2. I’ve built a meter tall, 5 meter long slide in my backyard if you want to use it during your recovery to keep up your ‘game’. Although the weight limit is 50lbs, those under 5yrs old find it to be the greatest thing since yogurt in a tube.

  3. Dividers? Lanes? What kind of hill is this? Colliding with other people is half the fun of sliding! But I guess you had enough collisions even with dividers…

  4. Thanks Frank. I’ll keep that in mind. ;-)

    Greg, that’s what I was thinking. I think this is the first year they put the dividers there.

  5. You would think, after the first few scrapes and whiplash episodes, that perhaps this wasn’t a good idea.
    But no! You had to relive your childhood, didn’t you?

  6. I hurt myself every time. I go back year after year. Heck, it hurt as a child too but that never stopped me! Money-wise, it’s the closest and cheapest way to get the feeling of danger you could get from jumping out of a plane – except that skydiving is, in fact, a lot safer!

  7. I this is hilarious. :) What great fun. Nothing like a good wintry activity to properly bang up the body.

  8. Careful, or next time, you’ll do a real-life version of that famous Charles Addams cartoon with the ski tracks.

  9. The nice thing about him staying home from work is that I get hot chocolate on my afternoon break (I work from home).

  10. Two words: C-spine trauma (three words?) Two more: Christopher Reeve.

  11. this sounds really rough-and-tumble and macho and fun and stuff, but, um, not for me. glad that you are not only okay, but that you got a day off for your efforts. for me, sadly, “winter fun” is an oxymoron.

  12. The funny thing is after each disaster you keep getting up and going for another ride. And I thought the Japanese were crazy.

  13. Yeah, those lunatics need their heads examined (post-mortem, by the neuropathologist, after they die after being crushed by a log.)

    When I lived in Japan I used to watch that thing on TV every year. I think at least one person lost a leg or arm every time.

  14. The last time I went tobogganing was almost exactly a year ago. None of my friends had toboggans, of course, so we improvised with election signs. (I live in Mile End, there was both the federal election and a provincial byelection last winter.) We wandered down to the hill at Park Avenue and Mount Royal on a frigid night and put those suckers to work. It was surprisingly effective! If I recall correctly, Jean Lapierre was the slipperiest, but Omar Aktouf was the most fun.

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