After a horrific motorcycle crash, titanium, not gold, is the material most important to two-time Olympic champion Hermann Maier. The racer's right leg is now held together by titanium pins, screws and a rod. Maier, 28, walked out of a Salzburg, Austria, hospital on crutches in September, only three weeks after doctors considered amputating his leg. Maier suffered "a mid-shaft, open tibia fracture," says Dr. Bill Sterett, head physician for the U.S. Women's Alpine Team and trauma specialist with the Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colo. After viewing Maier's X-rays (top: right leg before the operation; bottom: after) Sterett estimated that Maier's bone extended several inches outside the skin after the crash. "The X-rays tell you that this is a big, strong world-class athlete with big, strong world-class bones," Sterett says. "This was a high-energy injury." If the patient were a weekend skier, "you would leave the rod in forever," Sterett says. However, with Maier, it comes out. "You don't want him to bend the rod in a fall, which would make any future operations dramatically more difficult." Maier is working out six hours a day, six days a week, but his chances of competing in the Olympics this February remain a long shot.
Weather Or Not Skiers may not be able to change the weather, but they certainly can be more informed about it this season. Two weather sites, www.AccuWeather.com and dryday.com, can help take the guesswork out of ski-trip planning. AccuWeather.com offers a dedicated ski "channel" that includes snow-cover maps and real-time snow, ice and rain Doppler radar maps. You can click on any state to review a statewide resort locator, read resort reviews and check out current snow conditions and trail openings. Enter a zip code and receive a five-day forecast for any location nationwide. There's also a winter-storm tracker, which is more effective than dancing the snow-jig every winter morning. Dryday.com is a pair of binoculars to AccuWeather.com's magnifying glass. Dryday provides long-range, 30-day weather forecasts. Bar graphs show the percentage chance of snow or rain, with 30-day forecasts updated daily. You can also review previous 30-day forecasts, and draw your own conclusions on the accuracy of the system.
Don't Get Grounded Skiers are natural-born world travelers. But after the Sept. 11 tragedy, many travelers are, understandably, nervous or maybe just confused about flying and the new regulations on air travel. The best way to combat this anxiety is with up-to-date information. Go to skimag.com for the latest news, deals and advisories on winter travel this season. The travel and ski industries are working hard to win back consumer confidence, so this winter may, in fact, be a great time to enjoy a ski vacation. Skimag.com is your ticket to an easier trip.