In early December I had an unreasonably large crash while preparing for the World Cup season in Switzerland. It was an exceptionally windy day on the glacier and I was toying with the idea of taking another run down the course given the conditions. I made a rash decision to take another run based on the fact that I was freezing my butt off at the top of the course and wanted to get moving to stay warm. Everything was going smoothly and I was having, arguably, my fastest run of the day. I was going mock chicken (really fast) coming into the finish jump when the high winds caught me mid air and changed my trajectory to miss the landing of the jump. I fell 20ft out of the air and landed unbalanced in the ungroomed snow beside the course. My right knee took most of the impact and I was left lying there in the fetal position in excruciating pain. Unbeknownst to me I had fully torn my ACL, Partially torn my MCL, and partially torn my meniscus in my knee.
I was immediately flown home to have surgery and start the healing process asap.
As it’s the pre Olympic year and the stakes are high it was emotionally not a good time for me for about a month post crash. The thing I love most and dedicated so much of my life to was gone in an instant ( for at least 12 months anyway). I finally came to the conclusion: I can either wallow in self pity and stress about the future or view this situation as an opportunity to become a better athlete and person. After much mental and emotional turmoil I’ve decided to choose the latter. After all I can’t help but believe things happen for a reason.
I’ve been pondering ways that this injury could have a positive impact and I could think of a few biggies:
- I can do a deep dive on mental performance work. Mental and emotional performance is 90% of the game yet it gets maybe 10-20% of my attention when I’m going 100%. It’s crazy what you realize when your forced to slow down. I’ve realized just how much fear, self-doubt, self sabotage and unworthiness I easily ignore and am now grateful for the opportunity to recognize and work through those things.
- Visualization is SO important and is almost critical especially for extreme sport athletes. The more accurately and specifically I can visualize how I want to ski the better I will ski. Now I have the time to dial in my visualization technique and ski in my minds eye even though I can’t actually ski.
- I have the opportunity to begin again as a skier and revamp my technique and abilities from the ground up. The majority of skiers on team Canada that have torn there knees have come back as better skiers because they had to start from the bottom and revisit the basics that we often forget about at a high level.
- I’m also very grateful for the time I have to be in one place for an extended period of time and to be with friends and loved ones.
Some days are harder than others however I’ve made the decision to not waste the opportunity for massive growth during this time. One of my favourite quotes is “Go Big or Go Home” and thats the energy I’m bringing on my journey back to snow.