Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Skiing [Print without images]

Monday, December 2, 2013
Nimbus goes to Russia

By Chris Benchetler
XGames.com

[On Monday, Nimbus Independent released the first of a three-part video series called Compass, which will capture ski trips to three different countries: Russia, Italy and Japan. The first edit takes its viewers all the way to Russia. These are Chris Benchetler's words.]

This particular trip was severely interrupted by Eric Pollard's unforeseen injury. Our very first day on snow was starting off great. We had feet of fresh snow, temperatures were cold and the conditions were lining up.

That all went into a downward spiral when Eric went bigger than expected on a flat spin off a pillow and couldn't shut down his speed before launching off a 10-foot drop to a cat track. The experiences that followed were a complete nightmare.

Russia's Krasnaya Polyana mountains, which will serve as the host of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

Three days later, after we thought Eric was in good hands in a hospital Germany, we finished our story for Powder magazine (which is also a good read if you get the chance) and tried to stay positive. During the time we spent with Eric in the hospital, the conditions changed dramatically.

Temperatures rose, we saw rain, snow was melting rapidly and the overall moral was completely low. We finished our trip, however, and managed to still get some decent skiing in.

We met some incredible local people, skied insane lift-accessed terrain and saw a lot of unexpected things, including gun snipers throughout the mountains guarding their border from Georgia. Needless to say, it was a trip of crazy experiences and high stress.

We made it back to the U.S. to learn that Eric wasn't on the track we had hoped for. Luckily, after all he went through physically and mentally he is back and skiing again. It's incredible what the mind can overcome.