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Gov. breaks a leg in ski accident in Idaho

Times Staff Writer

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fell and broke his right leg Saturday morning while skiing with his family in Sun Valley, Idaho, officials on the governor’s staff said.

The 59-year-old governor will have surgery to repair a broken femur when he returns to Los Angeles after Christmas, the governor’s deputy chief of staff, Adam Mendelsohn, said in a statement Saturday night.

For the record:

12:00 a.m. Dec. 28, 2006 For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday December 28, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 37 words Type of Material: Correction
Schwarzenegger ski trip: An article in Sunday’s California section about Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger breaking his leg while skiing gave the incorrect name for the Sun Valley mountain where the mishap occurred. It is Bald Mountain, not Baldy.

Schwarzenegger, a former champion bodybuilder who normally works out every day, is “at his home in Sun Valley recovering and recuperating,” said Julie Soderlund, a spokeswoman for the governor’s office, who added that he is not wearing a cast. “The governor is doing great and looking forward to spending Christmas with his family.”

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Details of the accident -- the second sports-related injury this year for the governor -- were sketchy. It occurred while Schwarzenegger was on a normal ski run with his family, Soderlund said. She could not say what run he was on or what caused him to fall.

According to Mendelsohn’s statement, no one else was involved in the accident. Schwarzenegger was taken to a local hospital for X-rays and was later released, the statement said.

A local ski instructor and longtime friend of the governor said late Saturday that he was with the governor when the accident occurred. Adi Erber, reached by telephone, declined to discuss the accident but said the governor was fine.

Rick Hickman, night general manager at Sun Valley Resort, described Schwarzegger as “a very good skier; he’s a very confident skier.”

Hickman said he had seen the governor just that morning with Erber at the foot of a lift that carries skiers up Baldy Mountain. Conditions at Sun Valley on Saturday were overcast and snowy, he said.

Schwarzenegger has skied with Erber for many years, Hickman said. He is a well-known figure in Sun Valley, and a ski run -- a challenging “single black diamond” run -- was renamed “Arnold’s Run” in his honor.

The femur, the long leg bone between the pelvis and the knee, is considered one of the strongest bones in the human body.

Schwarzenegger is well known in Sun Valley, and has led a traditional Christmas Eve torchlight parade on the local mountains.

He has often ducked out to the ski haven in the Sawtooth Mountains, which has become a de facto hideaway for politicians and film stars. John F. Kerry snowboarded there during his presidential run and locals have spotted Demi Moore, Bruce Willis, Clint Eastwood and Jamie Lee Curtis in town or on the slopes.

Earlier this year, the governor collided with a car pulling out of a driveway while riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle in Brentwood and received 15 stitches in his lip.

His son, who was in the sidecar, was uninjured. Though the governor was not cited in the incident, he was criticized for previously driving his motorcycle without the proper license.

In December 2001, the governor has said, a car in front of him suddenly braked, sending him into its rear fender. His six broken ribs kept him from training for three months.

Schwarzenegger admitted at a news conference after this year’s crash that his wife, Maria Shriver, doesn’t like that he’s enamored of action sports such as skydiving and fast skiing.

“I was very lucky,” he said at the news conference. “It could have been far different. You never know ... not just on a motorcycle, but when you go skiing. I did all those things anyway before I was governor. I never stick to the rules.”

deborah.schoch@latimes.com

Times staff writer Ashley Powers contributed to this report.


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