Steve Pawlitzky is recovering after breaking his leg in the Quartz Creek area on Feb. 21.

Local snowmobiler recovering after serious backcountry injury

It’s hard to imagine that there could ever be a good time to break your femur, but for Steve Pawlitzky, Feb. 21 might have been it.

It’s hard to imagine that there could ever be a good time to break your femur, but for Steve Pawlitzky, Feb. 21 might have been it.

Pawlitzky, a Golden native who now lives in Edmonton, is getting married this fall in Mexico but thankfully he should be mostly healed up by the wedding,

Pawlitzky visits Golden frequently year-round to catch up with old friends and family and was injured late last month when he was snowmobiling in the Quartz Creek area with some of his buddies, nearly all of whom also grew up in Golden.

“I was hitting this jump near the end of the day and I overshot the jump…I went to bail and I got tangled up in my sled a little bit and my right leg ended up landing on the sled and that’s what broke it,” he said.

Pawlitzky knew something was wrong as soon as he came to rest on the snow. The pain was excruciating.

Luckily, members of his party and of another group nearby had the proper equipment to contact both police and Golden and District Search and Rescue personnel.

Since the incident occurred late in the afternoon, a quick response would be needed in order to ensure that Pawlitzky was rescued before dark. That’s exactly what he got, although it didn’t exactly feel like it at the time.

“It was pretty quick…but when you’re laying there hurt time drags on,” he said.

He remains extremely grateful for his rescuers and those in both his own group and the group that was sledding nearby.

“Everything went really well…I couldn’t have asked for a better situation considering how bad it was. Everyone was really helpful…I couldn’t thank all of those people enough for helping out.”

After Pawlitzky was lifted into a waiting helicopter, he was taken to Golden hospital before being transferred to Cranbrook.

Other than the broken femur, his injuries were relatively minor. Just a few days after being released from hospital, he’s already able to use crutches and the prognosis on his recovery is positive.

It’ll be a longer wait before he can get back on his sled, but Pawlitzky has no reservations about snowmobiling again, although he admits his injury might change his preparation.

“I’m definitely still going to sled…but maybe I’ll just change my outlook when I’m hitting a jump or something. I’ll think back on what happened,” he said.