Legendary Ski Bum, Captain Jack, Hospitalized


Telluride icon and professional ski bum Captain Jack Carey has long symbolized the quintessential adventurer in all of us. As you may know, Jack has soared and skied and just plain lived his way to fame and widespread affection over 30 years of loving the life he lives.

But Jack won't be skiing-or much of anything else-for a while. Shortly before 8 a.m. on July 21, a clear, warm morning in Idaho, Jack was cruising toward Challis on the motorcycle he was delivering to a friend. He caught a brief peripheral glimpse of at least one deer, then everything exploded.

It's not clear exactly what happened-Jack's memory of the crash is returning slowly-but the deer was knocked about 75 feet. It didn't survive. Jack barely did, sailing nearly 50 feet before he hit the pavement on his left side. The impact on his body was severe, puncturing his left lung, probably with one of the six ribs he broke, breaking his left scapula and collar bone, totaling his spleen. He was wisely wearing a helmet but its left side was scraped to the nub and despite the protection, Jack suffered a closed-head brain injury.

In the first hours after the wreck, Jack's chances of making it would have pulled long odds in Vegas. But he's as tough as the eagle that's his totem, in addition to being as nice a guy as you'll ever meet. With the help of great medical care—from the EMTs who reached him first to the LifeFlight nurses and trauma team at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise-love and attention from his wife, Monica, his own physical fitness and strong will, Jack is back from the edge.

Now that he's home in Ophir, Jack's physical healing has started. His financial condition remains on the critical list. While Jack and Monica's insurance will cover some of the costs of his care, they're struggling under an avalanche of bills.

For those who know Jack, it's no surprise that as soon as news of his crash was out, Telluride locals were digging into their own pockets. The Captain Jack Carey Hospital Fund has been established so that Jack's many other friends, clients and acquaintances-your readers among them-can help out, too. Donations can be made to:

Captain Jack Carey Hospital Fund
Box 2708
Telluride, CO 81435
Wells Fargo account #: 8809803417

Anything helps.