You may know Mark Starr from his nearly 30 years of making pizzas at David’s Pizza, and his involvement in so many community events.
But an event in December up at Mount Spokane changed his life forever, and in fact, it could have ended it.
“I was up there on a day I wasn’t even scheduled,” Starr said.
Mark started a side gig up on the mountain for something fun to do outside of David’s, working with the crew and grooming the runs before skiing himself.
After sundown the evening of December 17, Mark was grooming a run he hadn’t before and was asking for directions from a co-worker, but the groomers are loud.
“I didn’t completely understand what he was saying to me, put my machine in park, walked over to his machine,” Starr said.
As they were talking, the 20,000 pound groomer lurched forward, first pinning Mark’s feet before rolling on top of him, crushing nearly his entire left side.
“We have these things on the machine called ice spikes, they stick down about that far from the track. If you’re moving that machine on an icy slope, it keeps the machine from sliding. Well, it also keeps you from keeping your leg in tact,” he said.
The groomer tore up his calf, his knee, and broke his pelvis, a number of ribs, and his arm. It also nearly tore his scalp off, causing him to lose a lot of blood, even losing vision for a time.
“I knew it was bad mostly because of how the people around me were acting,” Starr said. “Scared the hell out of everybody. They were more worried about me more than I was and that was really difficult for me.”
While some of those people were horrified and in shock, other sprang into action, calling for help and trying to stop the bleeding.
The night was foggy, even too foggy for the Life Flight to take off. Ski patrol took him down the mountain in a toboggan, got him in an ambulance, and rushed him to Sacred Heart.
“I can’t say enough about the people who saved my life,” Mark said.
Starr spent six weeks at Sacred Heart, and one of his surgeries lasted 12 hours. Some of his medical team says his recovery has been remarkable.
However, that recovery hasn’t come easily. Mark pushes himself to do as much as his recovering body will allow, and his attitude takes him even further.
“I look forward to everyday,” he said.
Mark still has at least two more surgeries ahead, and he thinks he’ll be back to 100% this summer. You could even see him at Bloomsday!
“This is going to sound really dumb, I am so grateful that this happened because I have met some of the greatest people in the world, I can’t say enough about that,” Starr said.
Starr has nothing but positive things to say about Mount Spokane, and blames no one for the accident. He even has plans to get up there and groom the runs again.