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At first, says Landry, the run was "simply enjoyable," but at 19,000 feet he reached a particularly steep pitch, where, after a series of long, cautious traverses, the unthinkable happened. He fell.
"I went down hard on my right hip," he says, "and I began sliding. I tried to push up onto my feet, but I couldn't. I was tumbling over backward."
Landry's skis came off, although the safety straps kept them attached to his boots, and he clawed at the snow with hands and feet. "I came to a stop at the last possible place I could have," he says. "I had slid about 1,000 feet down the mountain. A little farther and I'd have gone straight down 7,000 feet."
Unhurt, Landry lay still for several minutes, then put his skis back on and very slowly made his way over to a climbing route and safe ground, thus ending his attempt to ski the West Rib. "It was difficult to accept the idea of defeat," he admits, "but on the other hand it seems spectacularly wonderful to be alive."
Now, Landry says, there'll be no more "big trips," no more death-defying descents. He has retired.
"I have no regrets," he says. "I had always assumed that extreme skiing wouldn't allow for even one mistake. I was pleased to be wrong."
THEY SAID IT
•Dan Quisenberry, Kansas City pitcher, on the speaking style of Milwaukee's Ted Simmons: "He didn't sound like a baseball player. He said things like 'Nevertheless' and 'If, in fact.' "
•Dick Vermeil, Philadelphia Eagles coach, asked at training camp if he was going to watch the royal wedding the next day on television: "The what?"