The Most Improbable Story Ever Told
For Simon, March 7, 2005, dawned like many of the other days he had enjoyed during his year abroad in Norway. Having deferred his acceptance to Middlebury, the 18-year-old cross-country skier had decamped for the motherland of nordic skiing, where he enrolled in a one-year, post-secondary-school program that allowed him to bridge his academic career between high school and college, while testing himself on the most pristine and challenging trails Scandinavia had to offer.
Gol, Norway, is no bigger than Middlebury, with a population of roughly 5,000 people. But tucked away in the heart of the country and in the shadow of one of the nation’s grandest mountains, Gol is a nordic nirvana, and on the day after a large snowstorm, when fresh powder has graced the ground and the opportunity to make fresh tracks arises, there is no finer place on Earth for a skier. Which is how Simon found himself in the backseat of a Jetta, with three other friends, navigating the corkscrew twists and hairpin turns of a two-lane alpine road, ascending the mountain above Gol, bound for what promised to be a glorious day.
Except that Jetta got stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle.
Except for the fact that halfway up the mountain, when the two cars hit a straightaway? That Jetta pulled into the left lane to pass the slow-moving sedan. And that sedan? Well, its driver had decided to pull into the parking lot of a grocery store on the opposite side of the road. And its driver had neglected to signal. So at the precise moment that the Jetta began to pass the sedan, the sedan turned into the Jetta and nosed the car into that concrete pylon.
At 60 miles per hour.
And that’s how Simon Thomas-Train came to be lying by the side of the road.
Waiting to die.