The gnarliest crash of Winter X Games Aspen 2012 may have been Justin Dorey's gut-wrenching slam into the deck of the halfpipe during the men's final. Dorey, a medal contender from Squamish, British Columbia, was trying a switch double cork 1080 on his fifth and final hit after sticking a double flat-spin 720 on his prior hit. He had never landed the highly technical combo in competition, and had he done so at Buttermilk, many thought he would have medaled.
When Dorey crashed spectacularly into the icy pipe lip, he absorbed the impact like a rag doll, then plummeted eight feet onto hard snow and slid to the flat bottom. Remarkably, after a few minutes on the ground, Dorey limped away from the crash, nursing just his shoulder.
Reached by phone Tuesday afternoon in Whistler, Dorey said he expects to return to skiing by March 1 and hopes to compete at Winter X Games Tignes two weeks after that. He earned a silver medal last year at the same contest.
The official diagnosis, he said of his injuries, "was a partially dislocated shoulder. And just some serious contusions and bruising on my right leg, from my knee to my hip, as well as my left hip from the second impact. My shoulder hasn't been bothering me at all since the crash, but my legs, because they took so much of a hit, they still hurt a lot. I didn't tweak my knees or anything, but a lot of the swelling has gone into my right knee. It's just painful and it wakes me up when I sleep."
Dorey said he watched the slow-motion video of his crash and cringed. "I missed my takeoff," he said. "It's definitely one of the hardest crashes I've ever taken in my whole life. From the video, it looks like I would've broken all the ribs on my right side, but I just have some bruising on my right leg and that's about it for the right side. I actually dislocated my left shoulder from falling to the flat bottom. The main impact on the deck actually caused the least damage. Overall I'm just lucky, I think. That was a gnarly crash, and to be able to walk away from it was lucky."
The only silver lining of the week came the morning of Dorey's crash, when he watched his girlfriend and Canadian teammate Roz Groenewoud win Winter X Games gold in the women's pipe final. "We've all been through so much over the past month," Dorey said, referring to the death of their teammate Sarah Burke, "so to see Roz power through and win X was amazing."