photos & words by Cody Townsend.
Last week on my last day of shooting with MSP in Terrace, BC, I sent one of the larger cliffs I’ve ever sent, in the middle of one of the cooler lines I’ve ever laid eyes on. The run was going great until the moment I left the ground and started sailing over the final big exit cliff. Suddenly I realized that the trajectory, slope angle and rock face was far different than what my 20 minutes of scoping had told me. The cliff stuck out nearly 30 feet, the take-off was at least 45 degrees steep and the angle of the take off sent me right into a point of rocks sticking far out into my planned landing. The seconds before impact I realized I was going to land on rocks and time slowed down to a primordial pace. I landed feet first onto a tall pillar of rock spotted with a dusting of snow. Upon impact I crumpled, buckled and somehow shot outwards past the next set of rocks into soft snow. Fortunately not a single piece of my body hit the rocks in the milliseconds of impact. I tomahawked for a solid 50 feet after hitting the snow and when I stopped I immediately heard the panicked screams into the radio asking if I was alright. I struggled to find my radio, stood up and waved to everyone that I was indeed alright. I didn’t feel a thing in fact. Then the adrenaline started to subside and I realized my left knee was in a world of pain. It didn’t feel horrible, didn’t feel shattered, felt somewhat stable but still hurt like hell. I hiked up, grabbed on of my two missing skis and skied down to our guide Yvan with one ski. The other ski has been sacrificed to the mountain gods. Immediately the fear of a devastating knee injury began to plague my brain. I flew directly to the hospital and as the heli ride lingered on I welled up fearing the worst, embarrassed by the accident and worried about the future.
As the initial pain began to subside and the X-rays came in negative my spirits began to lift again. Now, a week later and after 34 hours of driving back home, aided by my beautiful and gracious fiancee who flew up to Vancouver to drive me the rest of the way home, I’m back in Tahoe and have a fresh set of MRI’s.
Today I just got back from the reading with surprisingly positive news. Here’s the tick list: Tibial plateau fracture, 2nd to 3rd degree MCL tear, strained LCL, a partially torn meniscus and some serious bone bruising. Considering the force of the impact, I am super lucky. It could have been a career ending injury, fuck it could have been even worse than that. So to be left with an injury that might not even need surgery, I can easily say I’m stoked.
Now, it’s on to healing and coming back strong. It’s a healthy dose of motivation and I can’t wait to be in Physical Therapy, on the bike, in the gym and getting prepared for this coming Winter.