I'm not going to read a lot of the responses. I wasn't even going to share my story. But the last few have involved helmets.
I had an extremely bad crash, it ended my snowboarding career. I didn't visit this website for years because of it. I don't know what happened. It was spring riding. I remember stopping at the top of the park, adjusting my earbuds, messing with my iPod and the start of my drop in. Nothing after.
I've been told that I hit the kicker, landed (quite nicely, I guess) but then immediately hit a puddle of slush I didn't know about at the bottom of the kicker and went for a ride. So much of a ride that I went tumbling a few hundred feet, hitting my skull on a rail and bashing it open... and kept going. I knocked myself out, and pissed myself. Once I stopped, I got up and I tried to continue snowboarding down the hill and passed out on my face about 50ft later according to a buddy of mine.
I woke up in the hospital with way too many IV's, my head and legs covered in blood. I suffered a concussion and had to get staples to keep my head closed. I also had kidney failure. I was pissing blood for weeks. (hence why i woke up with my legs covered in blood). I had to go in for dialysis a couple times a week for months. Broken bones, all that shit. It sucked.
The medical bills are still being paid off, thanks to no medical insurance.
A helmet wouldn't have kept me from a lot of that... but I wouldn't have bashed my skull open. Who knows, maybe I wouldn't have gotten a concussion. I beg everyone to wear a helmet. I know they don't look the coolest and aren't the most comfortable... but staples hurt a shit load worse. I wore one for a year and then decided it wasn't cool, so I stopped. Worst decision ever. Dialysis was a whole lot less cool.
Wear a fucking helmet. Be safe. Inspect your kickers and jibs before hitting them. Wear your beacons in the backcountry. Ride with friends. Take it easy in the trees, and don't board past your ability.
I've definitely been in those unfamiliar landing scenarios, but mostly because either visibility was low or the surface didn't appear to be in teh condition that it was in. I hope you make it back out, Alaric and thanks for sharing.
Last season was probably my scariest fall to date. It was a 2* day and the landings in the park were hard all around and straight ice in many spots. I was riding the entire mountain and just going down through the park and straight air grabbing all the hits, including gapping all the way over rails and boxes. I had gapped a flat pipe rail a few times already that day that had a nice poppy approach to it. It was situated beside a booter with about 25-30 feet of flat, so the rail was probably about 20 feet long with a long steep landing after (same landing as the booter). Upon leaving the lip, I somehow clipped the end of the rail (I think it had just become worn down throughout the day), but the base of my board is what hit it... I just barely caught it but it was enough to spin me backside 90* so that now my back is leading and I was very slowly flipping. I was probably 15 feet above the table and dropped about 10 or so below the knuckle, landing on my back on solid ice. My neck snapped back and my head slammed onto the ice (BUT I WAS WEARING A HELMET), I bounced off the ground and tehn slid for a bit.
I was in a stupid daze but immediately tried to get up and about 3/4 of the way up, I just fell forward. At that point I realized I couldn't breathe, my vision was severely blurred and my entire left side from my back down felt immobile, but... I tried to get up again and just fell again, trying desperately to catch my breath. By this time, two of the friends I ride with were down and one said "dude, just unstrap." I was determined to ride it out because it has just become ingrained in my head that you ride stuff out after almost 30 years of skating and 20 snowboarding. But I couldn't. I just chilled for a while and eventually walked off but I was groaning/yelling with each step. I wasn't far from a sled though and I eventually was driven to the area of our parking spot, but not before I proclaimed that I was going to keep riding.. ha, so stubborn.
I also had trauma to my kidney and pissed blood for a while, though I only let my riding friends know this... def not my girl or my family because they already worry about me way too much. And that sucks, not knowing when you have to piss but thinking you always have too! I had a broken rib and a concussion EVEN WITH A HELMET. I'm a big advocate of helmets for certain.