Last Saturday I was trudging through the snow in 20-degree weather from my car to Beaver Stadium to watch Penn State win themselves a trip to the Rose Bowl when I realized that with weather like this, it was gonna be a heck of a good ski season. After all, Blue Mountain Ski Area is scheduled to open this Friday, which would make it the earliest opening I've ever seen in Lehigh Valley.

I have a close affinity to Blue Mountain. I skied my first black diamond there. I mastered the art of parallel skiing there. And I had my first - and only - skiing accident there.

To celebrate my 14th birthday, my buddy and I went up to Blue for the night. I didn't have my own equipment yet, so the boots I had didn't quite fit right, which wasn't a big deal cause I'd loosen them once I got on the chairlift.

As you approach the platform to get off the lift, there are signs that say "Keep Ski Tips Up." My buddy was fooling around and pointed his skis downward as we approached the platform. Wouldn't you know, his ski tips got caught under the platform, making the chair jump and sending me flying through the air. Since I had loosened my boots when I first got on the lift and hadn't tightened them yet, there was enough room for my ankle to twist around like Linda Blair's head in the Exorcist when I hit the ground. Oh, the pain.  

Thankfully, the very nice lift operator called the extra nice ski patrol guys, who took me to get checked out. Needless to say, I spent the rest of my birthday in the emergency room for a sprained ankle. (The following season I got my own equipment and I continue to ski to this day ... when it's not too cold.)

So as all you skiers and snowboarders rev up for the 2008-2009 season, remember one thing: the signs you see around a ski mountain are there for a reason!