“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!