It's dark and it's very cold, I'm kneeling on the hard ice by the rear wheel of the BMW with my frozen fingers covered in dirt and snow. The snow chain is as best fitted as it'll ever be tonight and I take the small Maglite from my mouth that I've been using to try and help light the area we have to work with and slip it into the breast pocket of my snowboarding jacket whilst thanking the kind passer by who's gone out of her way to help us fit them.
Less than twenty four hours later and I'm lying on my front in the snow, winded and in pain. I've fallen face first after catching an edge and face planted the snow hard. In any normal situation It would be fine, but as I unbind and get hauled up by my friend, my hand falls to the pain that's emanating from my ribs and to the hard little Maglite that I'd absentmindedly left in my pocket the night before. It lines up near perfectly with the offending rib and it's not long before we put two and two together. This small, seemingly innocuous decision has now ruined my snowboarding holiday.
My girlfriend catches up with us and is an absolute star in buoying my sinking mood. It's soon clear that I'll be out of action for the rest of the week, unable to bend and do up my bindings properly without intense pain let alone the movements of my body required for boarding I'm truly disappointed; but Charlie reminds me that I still have my camera and my mountain pass. I spend the rest of the week in awe of my surroundings, camera in hand (carefully) chasing after my friends. I can still hop on and off the gondolas and even the chair lifts with little problem and the pain is easily ignored when your surroundings are as beautiful as those in the three valleys.
So a trip ruined by a split second decision but salvaged by my love of the mountains and the camera in my hand. I've had it worse.