At the beginning of April I headed to Tignes, France for the World Freeskiing Finals. I was so lucky to have my Dad and my brother Ian accompany me, it was great to spend time with them and ski around (for the short time I was able to) with my brother. And the mountains, oh the mountains. I quickly fell in love with the Alps, and know I will be back soon to be able to bask in their greatness and explore their enormity.
Unfortunately things ended abruptly when after I had just skied the most technical and challenging competition run of my life smoothly and cleanly, and in the last 100 meters of the venue I threw in one last cliff, did a backflip off of it and thought I was coming around clean, and went for the stomp. I had done that exact thing the day before a couple times to make sure I would stick it- but this time my trajectory was a little off and I went bigger than before, landing in an unknown area that apparently was a little rocky and well, not good. I just sort of stopped when I landed with a crunch and bounced away, and knew immediately something was wrong. My worries were confirmed after I hiked 50 ft to retrieve my ski, clicked in, and made it to the finish that my ankle was broken. I don’t speak French and the ambulance workers and most people in the ER don’t speak English, which made for a complicated situation. But long story short, I was sent on my way on crutches, a splint, and shots I were to give myself in the stomach every day…
The American crew!
The dillema of my ankle became unimportant however by the loss of a fellow competitor, Neal Valiton, who was taken during his run. He died doing what he loved, inspiring others, and expressing a true passion for the sport and for the mountains that we all share. And I know he is now skiing perfect lines, in a constant state of eternal bliss, where we will all celebrate together someday. He will be missed and remembered, continuing to inspire us all.
The journey home was not a comfortable one, with my ankle in a constricting plaster splint, swelling twice its size, and thumping its own heartbeat while we were stuffed into a full ten hour flight that seemed that it would never end. Followed by a couple days back home with an on and off fever, and just a general feeling of gross and helplessness. (Thanks for taking care of me and driving me around everywhere, Jesse! :)) After a visit to my orthopedic doc we decided I needed surgery ASAP to screw my Talus that I had broken completely off back together. I was able to get surgery the next day and that was almost six weeks ago. I only started walking without crutches last week, a little earlier than I am supposed to, but I’m going nuts! I absolutely can’t wait to be able to start biking, climbing, hiking, etc again. I can’t handle being inactive, it makes me sad. I thrive off of being able to play in the mountains, go fast and jump around.
Summer plans are to keep surviving college and stay motivated with summer school, try to make a little bit of money, get healthy again and of course, play in the mountains as much as possible. 🙂