Middle-aged Spread: The Curse of Injury 

By Sam Masters

Sam Masters Middle Aged Spread Curse of Injury 1

The gym is your first, best and only defence against injury, but is it worth the price? The gym is all the worst bits of an orgy but without the sex: tensed-abs-induced farts, strangers grunting and – if somebody forgets to wipe down the equipment – you always get the wet spot. Unless you are lucky enough to be bisexual you also get about 50% more information than is strictly necessary.

For most of fashion history the male package has been discretely tidied away behind a codpiece or a size XXXL long T-shirt. The recent trend of super-tight male activewear is just another reason I hate the gym. Random meat-and-two-veg follow you around the gym like the eyes of a Renaissance painting.

The prospect of injury adds that little bit of spice to any ski day. Lack of fitness, poor line choice, over indulgence, excess speed and plain dumb luck can all play their part. Mostly though it’s the gap between your self-perception and your actual skill that lands you in the hospital.

Sam Masters rene and meat wagon

Sam Masters rene down

Surgeons, eh? Nothing but glorified plumbers and they still make you feel like a Dickensian shoe-shine boy when you enter their rooms. I was actually doffing an imaginary cloth cap every time I went to a consultation. All this talk about robots, artificial intelligence and disruption and yet these guys won't answer an email - you literally have to write a letter to get any traction. Forget about phone calls. Their consulting rooms are guarded by the secretarial equivalent of the three-headed hound of Hades (I was gonna write 'Cerberus' but, seriously, how many skiers have had a classical education?). You simply do not have a lot of say about the use of your own body. Dealing with a surgeon is like being an extra on The Handmaiden's Tale. They do what they want with you then drive to the golf course in their Maserati.

When I needed a knee reconstruction I showed photos of me skiing to the surgeon to let him know what I wanted to be able to do when he was finished with his bloody handiwork. "Sam," he said "I'm going to make it nice and tight for you" I have no idea whether this is a good thing.

Sam Masters Bontak leg

Jake Mccleary at Olympus greydog by Sam Masters


I reckon I could have been a surgeon easy; if I didn't abhor the sight of blood, physically vibrate when under pressure, fail to gain the academic results necessary to study medicine, hate long periods of studious application, and lacked the essential desire to help others.

Thanks: Bontak for the X-ray photo. G Browne for the meat wagon photos.


The Chill Pass

Chill Passes allow you to ski at up to 11 ski areas across the South Island. The flexibility to ski in the Waitaki, Mackenzie, Canterbury, Kaikoura and Nelson Lakes Districts is what makes the Chill Pass truly New Zealand's ultimate multi-mountain ski and snowboard pass. There are two types of passes, the Season Pass with unlimited access during the season, and the Travel Pass with a set number of clips for skiing and non-ski day options.