“It might not be your fairytale ending right now, but who’s to say you won’t get your fairytale ending down the road?” My teammate Stacey Cook said that to me the other day when I told her I would not be racing for the rest of the season. I certainly hope she is right!
After a agonizing few weeks of trying to decide if I should continue pushing the limit and try to reach Sochi or take a step back and look towards the future I have chosen to look towards the future. This has been the toughest decision I have ever made with my career, it was painful and still is. At times I thought I had decided fully what I was doing only to have doubts about that decision 45 seconds later.
I have pushed everything as hard as I could to get back on snow months before anyone anticipated, pushed myself to get back in gates and racing but one thing I can no longer push is my body. I have reached a point where the issues in my leg caused by the plate and eleven screws in my leg are preventing me from reaching the level of skiing I
need to be at to be a contender this season and to be part of the Olympic team.
As much as I want to continue racing this season and risk everything I have realized that my career and life isn’t just about Sochi. I have many years left ski racing and a career I hope to have in the ski industry when I retire, and it does not make sense to put everything on the line for something I am not ready for.
“What if” has run through my mind constantly the past few weeks, driving me to tears
and sleepless nights. The “what if” choice I have decided upon is thus: WHAT IF
I get healthy, for the first time in three years I actually have a full prep period, I am able to train like my teammates instead of playing catch up, I get stronger than ever instead of just barely reaching the number I need to be at to ski, and finally what if all these “what ifs” end up making the difference in my career? Maybe if I am healthy, strong, and prepared after a full summer of training I will end making that next step and become a consistent contender for the podium…that is my hope and goal by stopping for the season. That I will be able to make gains, make the changes I need in my skiing if I give myself the chance instead of pushing it too far.
I have no regrets of what I did this summer and this season, I worked as hard as I could and did everything possible to make my goal of competing in Sochi happen. People might think I am “giving up” and if they were in my position they would make a different choice, but no one else is in my position so they cannot know the difficulties I have had in skiing and in making this decision. I am sure there will be people that are going to question why I pushed things so hard in the first place, question if I did all the right things, and question if my coaches and I made the right decisions. The reality is that no one can know the complexity of all these choices and decisions but me, my coaches, trainers, doctors and my family. I would not change anything given a second chance.
For now I will take a few weeks to myself and do some of the things I have wanted to do for years but have been unable to do, freeski as much as I can, do an overnight hut trip in the mountains of Colorado, take a trip with my sister, allow myself to relax for a few weeks and even take some time away from the gym, unheard of for me in the past three years. Then I will get surgery end of January to remove the plate and screws from my leg, get started with my recovery and aim to get back on snow in May with a camp solely focused on fundamentals and technique through drills and freeskiing.
I need to thank my wonderful sponsors who have stood beside me through it all, Coldwell Banker- Mason Morse, Atomic, Shred, Leki, and Aspen Snowmass. My family and friends have been great and I could not have made it this far in my journey without
them. Last but not least I need to thank all my fans, the support from people across the globe that I don’t even know always amazes and inspires me.
It aint over yet… onwards to 2015!
I don’t normally express my inner thinking and try to keep my
blog light and entertaining but since today marks six months since my injury I
have decided share a little bit more of what goes on in my brain….so here we go!
Looking back to where I was six months ago gives me chills as I remember what a horrible day it was. At the same time I feel so blessed to be where I am today. It is unbelievable that I have made so much progress in the amount of time it has been. After injuring my leg so badly I don’t think anyone anticipated that I would be where I am. I
made a goal of skiing by November back in April and it might have been met with
some skepticism and I think people might have been humoring me at first till
they realized that I was serious. As of right now it looks like I will be making
that goal and be on snow late October!
I have worked hard and eight hour days in the gym are the norm for me nowadays, it’s almost like I have a normal job where you go to the office for eight hours a day! As the days in the gym tick by the winter is getting closer and I can’t wait for it to be here. Any normal summer I would be sad to see it ending but it feels like winter is almost here and it gives me motivation by knowing that there are less and less eight hour days ahead of me.
At times I feel like I have been too obsessed and possessed with getting strong and healthy again, and I sometimes feel trapped within my own obsession to get strong and back to racing that I forget to relax and enjoy life outside of skiing. I feel like that as an athlete it can be easy to be selfish and have a one track mind that can’t
fathom doing something that might not pertain to getting stronger or ski racing. I have sacrificed so much time with my family and loved ones, and missed out on numerous exciting adventures and I finally came to this realization this summer; ski racing might be my life and as much as I love it there are other things in life that are important to enjoy too. I have tried to find a balance this summer with taking trips away from Park City even for just a few days to give myself a break from my obsession and spend the time with the
people that matter most to me. One of the hardest things about being injured is there is no time to take time off, everyday counts towards being 100% so the trips have been short and they still included long days at the gym but I am so glad I was able to make them happen.
My favorite trips this summer have been going home to Colorado (of course, duh!) to see my sister, 3 year old niece and father. Even spending a night or two back on The Farm in New Castle and walking around the place and remembering my upbringing has been remarkable. Thinking about the summer days where I would be at the barn from morning till dusk with my ponies and chores brings a smile to my face.
Aside from trips home I went with my roommate and teammate Leanne Smith and her special man friend Dusty to Jackson Hole for the 4thof July to visit Resi Steigler. It was one of the highlights of my summer! We had so much fun biking, floating, concert going, dancing, and all day activity doing. It was great. I will be making a trip to Jackson every summer no doubt. I also took a road trip with my boyfriend Pat across Nevada to Lake Tahoe for a friend’s wedding. Although the drive was less than exciting Lake Tahoe was sure was exciting. Never having been there before I loved venturing out and exploring the place. Very cool, another spot I will return to in the summer. The wedding was also good fun and spending time with so many new people and making new friends outside my normal ski world was great.
For now I am in Park City till mid-October finishing up my conditioning, doing a little fishing and counting the days down till the snow flies!
After reading my last blog post it is nice reminder of how far I have come since early March...after a not so quick 12 weeks on crutches I now have been walking around on my own two legs for about ten days now! FREEDOM! It is so glorious to be walking around and doing things for myself. Simple things like going to grocery store and even filling up my car with gas seem like wonderful novelties. You don’t realize how much you miss doing the small things for yourself till you can’t do them. Enjoying the pool at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas
I have been in Park City for a week now training at the Center of Excellence. It has been great to see all my ski friends and be surrounded by other athletes that are driven to do their best. I admit I envy so many of them that are crushing themselves in the gym; I envy people doing box jumps and power cleans even though I despise both of those exercises. I still have a long way to go till I am recovered but I am getting closer each day! My main focus the past ten days have been simply learning to walk again without a limp and getting my stamina up again on the bike. It feels so good to sweat and start working again!
I spent the 12 weeks on crutches at home in Colorado living in Aspen doing therapy at Aspen Sports Medicine and staying at a wonderful place known as 1050 Waters Ave. I have to extend a huge thanks to all my friends at 1050 Waters who kept me sane and didn’t let me wallow too much in my own self pity. They kept me laughing and always entertained. Living with my boyfriend Pat who did an excellent job of taking care of me and bunch of other manly men was interesting but I will always have many fond memories of 1050 Waters…haha!
I was able to take a few short trips one of which was out to Laguna Beach with one of the manly men
from 1050 Waters Ave who grew up in Laguna and my boyfriend Pat. We road-tripped out from Colorado leaving in blizzard, took a short overnight pit stop in Las Vegas and spent a week in the Laguna Beach area.
Even though my activities were very limited I still had a great time being a “caddy” by simply driving the golf cart and spending some time on the beach putting out a serious vibe.
Serious beach vibe...
A day at the races!
Being a "caddy" for two manly men.
One of my favorite things about going out to California was being able to go to Santa Anita Park and watch some ponies run. I LOVE horse racing. When I was a kid I had dreams of being a jockey for about a year, then I grew 6 inches and surpassed the 110 weight range very easily. So that dream ended pretty quickly. Still so fun to go to the races. Someday I am going to put out a serious vibe at the Kentucky Derby, I can’t wait!
I also went to the pre-Sochi NBC Olympic media day in West Hollywood. It was a crazy experience. Make-up, hair, the whole nine yards. I have never spent so much time talking about myself. It was exhausting and even I got sick of my own story. It was a great chance to meet other athletes and see the different aspect of the media world and I really enjoyed it. Staying at the Beverly Hills Hilton wasn’t that bad either…
Photo from Hollywood! Photo credit: Getty Images/ Harry How
For now I am Park City thru October training and taking a few classes at Westminster College in Salt Lake City. As much as I want to run and play having classes is really good for me right now because it forces me to come home from the gym actually sit down and rest while doing some studying. By the time I finish classes it will be around the time when I can start crushing in the gym and start doing box jumps and power cleans. Can’t wait!
Thanks again to everyone who has supported and helped me over the past few months. I couldn’t have done it on my own!
Being a dork with my niece Jill.
Pretty evenings in Moab.
In the Garmisch Hospital...nice teammates came to visit!
Here I am again. Flat on my back icing another broken leg. Sweet.
Just when things were starting to feel really good again after my first broken leg, after my first World Cup victory and when my skiing was at its best I managed to destroy my other (right) tibia plateau into 30 plus pieces. UGHH.
The screaming and crying and is over. Well, for the most part. I’d be lying if I didn’t expect a few more meltdowns before this whole thing is over, I’m a woman so it’s not my fault if I get emotional... Surgery was a success and each day the pain is a little less. Now it is the looming months ahead of physical therapy, gym time, return to snow and finally racing again that lie before me. It is no small task and is daunting I’ll admit. The thought
of returning from an even more severe injury than my last one scares me at times. Can I do it again? Can I force myself to maintain a positive outlook and never have any doubt in my mind that I will be fast again? That I will want to go fast again? That I will be ready in time for Sochi? All of these questions run through my mind daily…but there is only one answer and one choice. YES.
I will put myself through the grind of physical therapy day after day, and maintain the positive attitude. Yes, I will want to go fast again, finding the trust will be hard but I have
done it before so I know it’s possible. I will do everything in my power to be ready for Sochi, I can only hope and have the faith that I will be ready. The rest is beyond my control.
I hear from people every day that injuries “just happen” and it is a “bump in the road”, “you will learn so much about yourself”, “you can do this” yet it still doesn’t change the fact I am upset and angry that this has happened to me again. Not just a simple blow your ACL which I would trade for in a heartbeat for my pieced back together leg with 11 screws, a plate and 35 staples holding my flesh together at the moment. I always thought I had paid my ski racing “injury dues” by breaking my other tibia plateau and even then I did not think I would finish the rest of my ski racing career unscathed. I expected bumps and bruises along the way but nothing this severe.
But enough is enough, I could elaborate on my sad feelings for pages…but the reality is I am hurt, and I will recover, but there are people in much worse situations all over the world. I am sure some of them would trade for my broken leg any day compared to whatever they might be suffering through.
To educate everyone a little more on the injury it is thus: my right lateral tibia plateau was fractured into 30 + pieces while being pushed laterally 1.5cmm. I also had a fracture diagonally/straight down the tibia which required the plate. Lucky for me all my ligaments were intact. Some miracle I guess! I keep obliterating my tibia plateaus but both times my ligaments had been uninjured. Crazy… There are more medical terms and smaller issues as well but since I’m not a doctor I’m not going to get into those details since I don’t really know what I’m talking about.
For the next eight weeks I will be on crutches doing a whole lot of quad sets, wall slides and other unexciting physical therapy stuff while also melting my brain with numerous TV shows and Movies. Don’t worry I actually have some online college classes planned in the meantime so I’m hoping to keep the brain melt to a minimum. For now I am focused on the next eight weeks and will move onwards when the time comes to release me
from the crutches! Thanks for all the love and support...the kind words do lift my spirits when I feel they can't get any lower!
One day at time…
Post- op. Plate and 11 screws...
35 staples....ouchy again
I WILL BE BACK!
Bib draw at Schladming! photo credit: Mitch Gunn
It has been some time since I last updated everyone on my skiing
adventures so here we go…
The past month and half and been a whirlwind. After making short trip back home to the US after Cortina it was back to Austria for World Championships. Having been injured during the last World Championships I was very excited and had high hopes for my first World Champs. Unfortunately I left
Shchladming disappointed and frustrated with the way I skied on race day. Most days I feel that I am on it and even if I have a mistake that cost me in the race I can leave the finish knowing that my skiing was good that day and confident in the steps I have made to become a better skier. Schladming was not one of those days, I skied conservatively and my skiing technically wasn’t what it had been all season. It might have been nerves, the expectations of doing something great, or the huge build up during the three weeks since the previous race and waiting anxiously to finally race in the “big” event of the season. I could make a lot of excuses as anyone can when you have a bad race, what it boils down to is I skied poorly. Dang. Moving on though in the big picture it is just one race in my career and I can learn from my mistakes as we all try to do.
In our Austrian garb....Halloween next year??
Racing the downhill in Schladming photo credit: Mitch Gunn
After Schladming I was able to make a solo trip to Venice and Verona while the rest of my teammates still had events to compete in during World Championships. It was a great trip and I am really glad I was able to see some of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It was also nice to get a few days alone away from all the ruckus of World Championships and reset my mind and body for the rest of the season. I think I took a couple years off my life withall the anxiety and anticipation I had before Schladming! I felt like a new woman by the time we got to Sestriere for our pre- Meribel training camp. It was quite nice to feel rejuvenated and relaxed again.
View from the Rialto Bridge in Venice
Meribel was such an incredible place. Wow. I have been to some sketchy places in France as far as accommodations (yuck) and on some of the ski hills but Meribel is not one of them. The free skiing and views were some of the best I have experienced. The race hill was also really sweet, lots of terrain with a couple big swooping turns and perfect hero snow. It was challenging race for everyone, coaches and athletes alike because the last downhill race that was held there was in 1992 during the Olympics. So finding the right line took a couple days and even going into race day I was running a line that I hadn’t skied in either of the training runs.
It was an extremely close race…being less than a second out I still ended up in a three way tie for 14th. Not a result I am ecstatic about but after watching video of the race my skiing was good, it was a couple turns where I didn’t hit the line right on and that cost me. I still left Meribel with a good feeling that my technique is getting more and more solid and that there are still a few more races to go…
Not having a spot to race the Super Combi on Sunday I was able to freeski 10-inches and more in some spots of fresh powder with my boyfriend. A couple of the steeper chutes we got into were honestly some of the best powder runs I have had. The great thing about Meribel is that most of the skiers are quite novice in their abilities so venturing off into the powder is not on the agenda for most of them. We were able to get fresh tracks at like 12pm, something that is unheard of at home in Colorado when powder days turn can into an all out battle to get first chair.
Onwards to Garmisch-Partenkirchen!
Shredding the GNAR with Pat...
Meribel...Nice place to look at in the starting gate!
Wow. What a weekend I just had in St. Anton, Austria. In our first race after our Christmas break I earned my first World Cup victory! Even writing these words it is hard for me to believe that it has actually happened. After all the years of hard work, dedication, sweat, tears, frustrations, injuries, wins, losses, and all different levels of ups and downs I finally
made it to the top. It was worth every second of work I put in to get there. I wouldn’t change a thing!
St. Anton is not a regular tour stop on the World Cup, every four years or so a race is held there, so like many of the younger racers I had never been down the track before. It is known as one as of the most difficult courses on the Women’s tour. It was designed for the Men’s World Championship Downhill in 2001. As one of my coaches put it later, “Alice you pretty much just won Kitzbuhel”. Well, not quite. Let’s be real here. For the Women’s tour though it is the closest thing we get to running Kitzbuhel. I guess somewhere along the line I learned how to turn, I have been known as glider to only do well on the flatter courses but I think I can safely say that I can put that reputation behind me.
Our first training run was quite eye-opening…for everyone. The course was in your face every second of the way and never let up with the most challenging section being the bottom six turns below the “eisfall” – a narrow chute cut through the trees that is too steep for even a winch cat to make up. You throw yourself over the edge pick up another 20 mph then head for the final six turns while your legs are screaming for you to stop and you are hanging on for dear life. Your legs feel like tree stumps at the bottom, pretty much totally useless. With the course being so bumpy it felt like you were rolling down a potholed dirt road on a Vespa. With no brakes. What a relief to finally cross the finish line!
The second training run was cancelled due to a foot of new snow. Powder skiing! I went and took a few runs with my Dad instead of staying cooped up all day. Pretty sweet skiing and the best way to take my mind of the race ahead.
Finally race day was here and it was bluebird. I had an early start number and my main
focus that day was to start skiing like a dude. No more ladylike, passive, pretty skiing. Brute force and commitment. When I finally kicked out of the gate it was like I was possessed by a crazed devil woman. Sending it as hard as I could and skiing my heart out. I had the best run of my life, no doubt. It was AWESOME! Such a great feeling. As soon I as I crossed the finish line I actually did think to myself “I just murdered that course”. I spent the next hour watching the rest of the top women race. It was the most agonizing hour of my life. Sweating, shaking, crying, cottonmouth, desperately trying and failing to play it cool. Generally it was very uncomfortable and I was barely able to watch any of the other ladies race. Finally it was over and the win was mine. Unbelievable.
Standing on the top step of the podium hearing the national anthem has to be one of the best moments of my life. Something I have dreamed about since I was little. Having my Dad there for my first win was so special. As with 99% of all athletes I would never had made it this far without him and my sister Kendra. Ski racing may be an individual sport but it takes a team of people to get to the top.
We now head to Cortina, Italy for races this weekend and then I return home for a short break before the World Championships in Schladming, Austria. Thank you for all the support everyone! All the kind words I have been hearing really mean a lot. It is almost still too much for me to believe. So thank you all.
On to the next one…
It has been a busy three weeks full of ups and downs! A few more days of GS training in Solden then home for Christmas. Yay!
Starting off in Lake Louise I had one mediocre training run where I reverted back to all my old bad habits for some reason…maybe nerves. I don’t know why, but it was ugly. Second training run was going great but then I decided to get a little back and inside (danger zone!) got compressed and sent it into the A-net head first. Ouch. Luckily I was mostly uninjured, just have one rib that still likes to pop out of place whenever is feels like it as a result of that meeting with the A-net. I had to miss the final training run due to swelling and pain in my knee, so after one and a half training runs it was time to race! Finally!
But then… the fog, the falling snow, the hour long course hold before me, the one forerunner who went after the hold before me, and then I ended up being five seconds out in the first Downhill race of the year. Uuughhh. Gross. While I was standing in the start for my run it continued to snow and with only one forerunner I really had no chance. The track was so sticky with the new snow. So I’m writing that race off.
Second day of Downhill racing was redemption time for me, came down with the lead for a few racers before eventually being bumped back to 11th place. A solid result after such a frustrating day the day before. Still by no means what I am looking for this season but a good place to start.
I finished off Lake Louise with some really great sections of skiing in the Super-G race and some sections that really cost me. So no result for me that day. Still, a step in the right direction after struggling so much with Super-G last season.
On to Europe! St. Moritz! Time to get another try at that tricky event Super-G…then...start stop, 10 min course hold before me, then gale force winds decided to blow sideways while I was on course. I was blinded for a gate and half, I couldn’t see anything in front of me or even the ground. So I naturally threw in a couple stivots just to have something to do till I could see again; and blew all my speed. It was a strange day, barely windy most of the day but I got the one gust that decided to show up for the race. Annoying. Write that race off too.
On to Val d’ Isere! One of my favorite places in Europe, such a fun place to ski. After the first Downhill training run Jules, Laurenne and I went out for a few runs and had fresh powder! It was so awesome. Nothing like a few powder turns on a bluebird day with friends.
By the time race day for the Downhill came around Mother Nature decided to be annoying AGAIN. It was too windy on top so we started from the reserve start cutting off the first 30 seconds of gliding.
I had a good race run with two mistakes, and ended up placing 8th. It was little bittersweet knowing that if I had been a little bit better that run I could have been on the podium. Just 0.37 from the podium. Hundies really do matter. Every. Single. One. Still a really good result that I am happy with and moving in the direction I want.
I need to of course mention Stacey and Leanne! We see Lindsey win all the time and that certainly is exciting and I am always psyched when she is up there on the top step but it is something you come to expect after awhile. Seeing two of my teammates get their first podium results was so incredible and exciting. I am still so happy for both of them. They both earned it with all the hard work they have put in. It also makes me smile to know that in a sport where people always obsess over the next prodigy child that someone who has been at it for awhile can make it happen… yea Stacey! That’s you!
I am more motivated than ever to go faster and get better after seeing how possible it is to make it happen. Seeing some of your closest friends finally earn it makes it seem so much more possible. I have improved so much in the past year and I know I still have work to do but I know that anything is possible at this point. Onwards!
Happy Holidays Everyone!
It’s almost time! The first World Cup Downhill and Super- G races
start next week in Lake Louise and I am super excited to get going. It has been
a long prep period full of ups and downs but I now feel ready and enough is
enough. Let’s race.
We finished up in Copper last week and were able to dial in all
the new skis and figure out what’s what and decide what to race on. It was a lot
more work this summer with the new skis deciding between different lengths, models
and even dabbling with the men’s ski a little bit.
It was a great camp and the whole team is ready to race. I think we can
take the nations cup in Downhill once again this year! Go AMERICA!
For now I am enjoying some time at home and recovering from the
Thanksgiving eating extravaganza...I also get to watch the World Cup in Aspen
this weekend which is always a fun time. I never get to see the tech girls race
in Europe so it is great to be able to cheer for them on home turf!
Looking back on this summer I was able to fit a lot of things in:
surgery in the spring, lots of time in Park City getting my butt kicked in the
gym, tons of mountain biking to get my legs and lungs strong again after chillin
on crutches for four weeks, camping adventures, slaying fishes, family houseboat
trip to Lake Powell, weekend in Vegas (broke even, feel pretty big time about
that…), USSA Snow Ball in San Francisco, Moab weekends, hunting excursions this
fall (success! I was back up but still, success!) and of course two training
camps to the southern hemisphere jammed in there as well. Busy, but only a warm
up for the upcoming season, it’s about to get a lot busier and more
I’ll be updating regularly through the season so stay
Attempting to be "Lax Chicks" in Park City this fall!
Lookin fancy at the San Francisco Snow Ball
Hi everyone! Welcome to my new website! I decided to upgrade and create this new website, so after ripping my hair out designing it myself it is finally done. There is a reason I do sports and not web design...web design hurts my brain. So I hope everyone likes it... and if not...well that's too bad because I'm not going through that process again.
I am currently in Park City for one last block of intensive dryland training, and I'm getting work done. I'm tired, sore and a little cranky from all the time in the gym but I know it will pay off when we start racing in less than two months. I am feeling stronger than I have in awhile and more prepared for this upcoming season. Last year I was a little weak going into it after being hurt the previous season but I made do with what I had and did pretty well. It gives me confidence that I can push things more and my body can handle it.
This summer I was able to go to both New Zealand and Chile for some on snow training. New Zealand was a slow camp for coming off a second surgery this spring to remove the plate and screws from my leg. I "eased" back into things by jumping on the new GS skis and not being able to turn them. At all. I spent two days trying to figure out how to finish a brush course. Some athletes have had no problem switching to the new stuff but Ill be honest, I struggled for a little there. Yikes. I have figured out the new GS skis, they take a lot more effort to turn and are less forgiving but in the end I do like them and haven't thought much about it now that I have been on them for two ski camps.
Chile was a really good camp even with the limited amount of snow. I was able to get on the new speed skis and thankfully I didn't have quite the challenge with them as I did with the new GS skis. I was able to jump right into running full length Downhill (yes!) and Super-G which was so MUCH fun! As much as I love summertime and having a change of routine there is nothing like getting back on skis and ripping.
For now till I can start ripping again it is back to the gym…physical testing is next week and we are having a team dryland camp in Park City after which will be a lot of fun and also really exhausting. Looking forward to some snow!