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Home > World

Board Stupid

Don't eat the red snow.

23 February 2004

A British woman working as a tour rep at an Austrian ski resort is in intensive care after a snowboarding accident. Annie Ferrier, 24, from Norwich, was travelling so fast as she reached the bottom of the slope that the snowboard she was sitting on took off and flew more than 20 feet.

It must have been amazing.

Until she crashed into a parked car and sustained serious head injuries.

As terrible as her injuries were, Annie can count herself lucky to have been granted (as so few of us are) a taste of that special kind of human experience - like when a balloon rope wraps itself round your foot and you are dragged screaming through the air - upside down - at hundreds of miles an hour before being bashed to death by hedgeposts and shrubs, or when the front half of your aeroplane falls off and your bit of fuselage travels onwards for about 5 minutes before slapping down into a sand dune and turning into a fireball...

The sort of experience in which seconds stretch out into hours, when existence broadens monstrously into a mad limbo, where you are no longer alive nor dead, but where the pure and absolute consciousness of your own mortality and the absurdity of your existence explodes across your mind, as it did across the mind of Jesus, nailed to the cross, when he cried: "Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani!"

As we said: it must have been amazing. Except that Annie was on her way home from the Krazy Kanguruh bar so she probably didn't know a thing until she hit the Mazda, burped, and slumped bloodily into the slush.

Annie can also reassure herself, on a more mundane level, that it is basically impossible to go abroad without suffering severe physical damage of some kind. Usually your tour bus will plunge over a cliff, your leg will come off while skiing, a crazed crocodile will chase you across a swamp and take you down for a death roll, a shark will have your arm off at the elbow, a lion will rip you screaming from your tent, or you will simply suffer third degree burns in a hotel fire started by a vagrant. They say that most accidents happen in the home, but at least those are just normal ones like dropping an iron on your foot. Rather than horrible gory nightmarish ones.

There is a useful industry regulating board, ABTA, with whom you can check the validity of various tour operators and airlines before going anywhere. That’s only sensible. But what we really need is a board to advise on which injuries are likely in your chosen location, graded with stars in a sort of Michelin system (3 for fatal, 2 for intensive care, 1 for just a bit of a limp during the rest of your holiday).

In the absence of such a vitally-needed organization, here is a brief overview of vacation activities which are guaranteed to end in disaster:

Taking shortcuts to car-parks.

Doing things like this (unless you've phoned ahead for the ambulance).

He’ll be on liquids for a month.

Pop goes the tendon.


Mind that tree.

She’s asking for trouble.

Pull them away while there’s still time.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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