Eric Pollard says the latest Nimbus Independent video release, which dropped on Thursday, "isn't much." He describes it as a quick edit made from footage shot during a few early-season days last year when Pollard and Nimbus filmer, Ike Smith, were playing around with a new camera at their home mountain, Mt. Hood, Ore.
But it's all the ski footage that the typically prolific Pollard has to show from last season.
Last January, Pollard crashed onto a cat track and spiral fractured his tibia while filming in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia, the site for the alpine skiing events at the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
"My first thought was, 'There goes the trip that I've been working on,'" recalls the 30-year-old Pollard. "I wasn't too worried … I knew it was a really bad spot to be injured, but at the same time, I thought, 'I can get through this.'"
But the situation quickly worsened. By the time an airlift to a hospital in Germany could be arranged, his leg was swelling rapidly. Doctors in Germany installed a metal rod to fix the break.
"The moment I broke my leg, I sent my X-rays to my orthopedic surgeon and [Nimbus co-founder Chris] Benchetler's orthopedic surgeon," Pollard says. "Their advice was to be very careful about compartment syndrome. So we were incredibly conscious of the fact that it could happen to me."
Human limbs are divided by tough walls of tissue into separate compartments, called fascial compartments, each with its own blood and nerve supply. An injury to the limb can raise pressure inside compartments until blood flow is restricted, causing excruciating pain in addition to nerve and tissue damage. Acute compartment syndrome is treated by opening the compartments in question with an incision to relieve pressure.
Doctors operated to open the compartments in Pollard's leg, but by that time, according to Pollard, the nerve and tissue damage was so severe that the threat of paralysis or amputation was very real. "I never knew what was going to happen," says Pollard. "There were some heavy possibilities of losing my leg or having some paralysis."
After enduring a two-month ordeal of 10 surgeries and a month-long stay in a trauma center, Pollard is now back at home in Oregon, with his family, and he's on the fast track to recovery. He has partial paralysis of his foot -- his toes don't move up or down, but he can wear a spring-loaded brace that holds his foot up and allows him to do most activities.
He's already been back on skis during the summer season at Mt. Hood, and he's looking forward to something close to a full recovery.
This winter, Pollard and Benchetler plan to film for a multi-year project starting in January. They'll be spending much of the winter filming and skiing in Japan.
"The pains associated with paralysis I'll probably be working with a lot for the rest of my life," Pollard says. "But I feel really fortunate to have my leg, and I plan to be skiing in the same capacity that I've skied for my entire life."