I’m doing much better now that I’m out of the hospital. I spent half the winter laying on my back, bed-ridden, and simply waiting for news from doctors. Basically what went down is as follows;
I broke my leg the first day of the first ski trip of the year! A spiral fracture of my tibia, I spent a couple nights in a Russian hospital, flew from Russia to Germany on an air ambulance (Doctors decided it was very risky to fly back to the USA). In Germany I had an operation to put a rod and some screws in my bone. Days after the first surgery, my leg was in a lot of pain, and my good friend (the creator of Line Skis Jason Levinthal who was in the hospital with me) and I were very concerned that I had compartment syndrome. We asked the doctors repeatedly to do the necessary tests on my leg, but the Doctors were convinced there was nothing wrong. Unfortunately our suspicions were correct, and I did have compartment syndrome. I was rushed into surgery in the middle of the night (after a full day of the worst pain of my life). Once again, unfortunately for me, the surgery was done incorrectly, and the pressure in my anterior compartment was not released. Lots of pressure in my leg caused tons of pain, and I had yet another fasciotomy surgery 6 hours later. Because the anterior compartment had not been released on the first fasciotomy, the muscles then burst out of my leg. As a result I had a lot of damage to that particular area, and I also had a very large wound with very swollen muscles. I could not move my foot or toes up. The massive cut/wound in my leg was open from my ankle to my knee and was about 9 inches wide.
I then decided I needed to be moved to a different hospital because I had lost confidence in the hospital I was at. I had quite a few more surgeries while I was in my new hospital in Germany for over a month. Surgeries to check my nerves, cut out dead tissue and attempt to close the wound. I was stuck laying in my bed, meeting with neurologists and surgeons, getting bad news, and just hoping for the best. The risk was that I had a huge open wound, and if I got an infection with all my compartments open, I would lose my leg. The other fear I was facing was that I might not regain the use of my foot and toes because of nerve and muscle damage. My family flew out, and I had a huge amount of help from the Line rep and his family from Frankfurt (thank you again Siamak, Linda and Rosheen). Finally I was told that the only thing left to do was a skin graft because the wound would not close otherwise, so I had the operation. After a month in the same position, waiting for my skin graft to heal, I was cleared to fly home to the United States. Back in the USA I went to another hospital and had another two surgeries, bringing the total to 10!
When I awoke from my first surgery back in the States I was told that I my foot was partially paralyzed because my anterior muscle had been cut out. As a result I lost the ability to move my foot upward, and because of nerve and other soft tissue damage I can’t move my toes. I lost the muscle in my leg because of the pressure that was put on it from compartment syndrome. Upon awakening, I was also told that I had fell victim to an infection, and I am on an iv via a PICC to fight the infection. I have to wear a fanny pack that carries the anitbiotics, and I have a line that goes into my bicep and straight to my heart which delivers 2 hours of antibiotics three times a day. The last surgery I had was to do a final debridement and close the wound.
I’m thankful to be moving forward with physical therapy and optimistic about getting back on my skis next season. The entire experience has been very difficult, and I feel so lucky to have had so many people thinking of me. I truly believe that it has made a big difference in my recovery. Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and prayers. I can’t wait to see you up on the hill!
If you’re planning on attending or competing in the Sochi Olympics 12 months from now, please be aware of the local medical facilities, or lack their of.
Eric was on the first day of a trip to his favorite powder stash in the world, Sochi Russia with the Nimbus crew. Eric rodeo’d an average sized natural air and landed clean into a white room, then immediately scruffed speed knowing there was a cat track ahead. Unfortunately it came up sooner than expected & he dropped 10+’ to flat on the cat track with a broken lower leg (tibia).
He got down the mountain to the local hospital the most knowledgeable medical staff unfortunately was his friends armed with google. The Russian “doctors” immediately put his leg into a cast. Luckily Eric called his doctor at home who confirmed this was the most dangerous thing that could have been done. If the leg swelled with no where to expand he could have lost blood flow leading and long term muscle damage or even need for amputation. He immediately cut his cast off having friends frantically run laps outside for bags of snow to keep the swelling down (no ice in the hospital).
Eric’s insurance guaranteed air & rescue from anywhere in the world, but that wasn’t good enough in Russia. The amount of customs paperwork & approvals to get in & out delayed the rescue by 48 hrs with essentially no medical services in town.
He was finally flown into a Franfurt Germany hospital krankenhaus-nordwest.de . On day 3 he had a metal rod inserted to fix the break. Unfortunately the broken leg is now the least of his problems. because of the 2 days stuck in Russia without medical attention needed to secure the leg, he had now developed a much more serious and potentially long term problem.
The calf muscles continued to be inflamed & swelling but unable to expand due to a natural membrane around the muscle, this is called “Compartment Syndrome”. The only solution is to literally slice the lower leg open through the membrane the full length from the knee to the ankle to let the muscles expand to relieve the pressure. Unfortunately doctors in Frankfurt did not perform tests for Compartment Syntdrome until days of agonizing pain were endured by Eric. They were were giving him so much morphine that any more and there would be risk of dieing from overdosing even though he continued to tell them the pain would not go away. Finally days later through language, medical & culture barriers they performed the test needed to confirm Compartment Syndrome which was obviously positive.
5 days after the injury he finally was getting surgery done for the Compartment Syndrome. Unfortunately the day after, the pain continued to increase & doctors finally informed him that they had actually only releived 2 of the 4 compartments in his leg! They had to then go back in to surgery to slice open the other side of the leg for the remaining 2 compartments to expand.
It’s now been over a week since the injury and although the pain is at a more normal level, it will take weeks for the muscle to reduce swelling and his leg to be sewn up. The future health of his muscle tissue can only be determined over time. Since it’s too risky for him to fly home due to risk of blood clotting he has now been moved to a hospital that is considered to be one of the best in the country specializing in trauma with doctors that can better focus on his condition www.bgu-frankfurt.de
Eric remains incredibly level headed, patient & persistent throughout this ordeal. Long time friend & Line’s founder Jason Levinthal stayed with Eric throughout his first week in the hospital. Eric’s wife, daughter & parents are now with him.
We will keep you updated here. Thanks for your positive thoughts & blessings.
Eric Pollard skis like he paints, placing natural flowing lines on virgin powder with one-of-a-kind smooth style, throwing tricks along the way that only he has perfected to look this easy to establish himself as an undisputed pioneer of backcountry freestyle skiing.
This year, Eric has wrapped up his past season by editing all of his favorite shots into a single super segment so you can drop in with him, from his point of view. All footage was shot by Nimbus & Level 1 during the 2011/12 season with some ridiculous never before seen footage sprinkled in. So expand your video player, turn up your speakers and click play for epic surfy vertical powder slashes, stomped giant natural airs, superhero-like switch skiing, and more tricks deep in the white room from EP’s home Mount Hood to Japan and everywhere in between, re-cut and edited by Eric himself.
About Eric Pollard & Line Skis
Line was Eric Pollard’s first ski sponsor, now working together for over 15 years Eric Pollard’s creativity and vision for what’s next in the sport is in perfect unison with line together pioneering ski designs and styles of riding that continue to re-define the sport and product that supports it.
En Route Sled BC follows Chris Benchetler, Andy Mahre and Line’s very own Eric Pollard on a snowmobile access trip to British Columbia, Canada. The crew skis in full on snow storms and blue bird conditions on some of the best terrain North America has to offer.
Nimbus Independent has released it’s newest and greatest webisode: En Route Arlberg!
Introducing the Line Skis 2012 / 2013 Ski Season Calendar! All your favorite Line Mountain Command team athletes doing what they do best all year long! Purchase today, hang on your wall, and wait for the snow to start falling then mark off your ski days! Enjoy!
Through words and imagery, follow the journey of skiing pioneer Eric Pollard & Line Skis creating the perfect tools to progress freestyle powder skiing. Eric walks you through 10+ years of never released prototypes & pro models, leading to his most recent masterpiece, “Mr. Pollard’s Opus“.
Our willingness to try anything is guided by Eric’s intimate knowledge of powder skiing formed by influences such as surfing, snowboarding and an undying drive to ski the mountain differently. Eric’s pro models and innovations are by-products of this Decade of Ski Development. Sit back and enjoy the ride.
(Aether) chiefly poetic/literary the clear sky; the upper regions of air beyond the clouds.
Eric Pollard isn’t only a skier, he’s an artist both in front and behind the camera. Nimbus Entertainment has been pushing out edtis that not only are ski porn, but also are aesthetically out of this world and transform you to a different place, often where most only wish. In their latest release, Aether, Pollard and crew have mashed up their footage from 2011 into a more artistic perspective of skiing.
A true masterpiece in our minds. Now check out some artsy photos to go along with it!
Line pro/filmaker/designer and Evo Team Member Eric Pollard sat down for an interview which appeared in Evo’s new print catalog. Check out the interview below!
Eric has also donated one of his original oil paintings (seen above) and it will be auctioned with 100% of the proceeds benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound. Hurry, auction ends on Tues, Nov 22nd. Bid Here >
Not only does Nimbus Entertainment go to remote locations such as Japan, Alaska and super duper deep backcountry spots only accessible by sleds, but Eric Pollard and the boys know how to hit up resorts and shred em’ like hell. En Route Cascadia follows Eric Pollard and the rest of the gang on a road trip through Washington’s best ski resorts; Crystal Mountain, Alpental, Stevens Pass and White Pass.
For those who’ve never skied Washington, it’s not usually this good. Trust us it’s always raining and wet. Colorado has much better snow, go there. Check out the below pictures of crappy Washington skiing.
So much fresh snow at each location. Crystal, Alpental, Stevens Pass and White Pass were amazing!
This is what you see on the top chair at Alpental.
The ski patrol at Alpental have a lot of terrain to control and they do a damn good job.
Ike and Pollard en route to Cascadia…where Harry and the Hendersons was filmed!
A little snowball fight broke out when we had finished digging out the chair.
Tandom slasher from Mahre and Pollard
Pollard laying down a little turn at Crysta with the help of his Mr Pollard’s Opus Skis.
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