Seven years ago, I ripped my ACL for the first time ....
Six years ago, I ripped my ACL for the second time ...
Five years ago, I ripped my ACL for the third time ....
Four year ago, I ripped my ACL for the fourth time ....
Seeing a pattern develop?
Little by little, my addiction to skiing has eaten away at the fibers of my anterior cruciate ligament until there is nothing left. A lifelong strength athlete, I lied to myself and blatantly refused to admit that perhaps I should ease off. Maybe some other body couldn't handle it, but I was convinced that mine would be able to continue skiing sans ACL. I totally had this.
And then the problems started.
I didn't have enough strength to drop my right knee for a tele turn, so I put my tele skis away.
I didn't have enough range of motion to carry a high edge angle, so I skidded all my turns.
I didn't have enough strength to take the vibrations, so I skied slower. Much Slower.
And still I lied to myself.
And made excuses.
If I could click in to my binding, I could ski.
Anything to not admit to myself that perhaps the continual shredding of my ligaments was taking away my choices on the snow. I convinced myself that it wasn't that my knee couldn't do these tasks, it was because I didn't want to do them. Tele skiing was dying anyways; efficiency of movement requires more skill than strength; and that anyone can ski fast.
The problem was that I really want to do all these things. I found myself skiing more and more alone, going to crazier and crazier locations in the woods because no one could see the bizarre reality of me making step turns around down logs and gnarly branches. I found skinning to be a way to increase my time on my skis without making turns and then the pre-opening conditions would be perfect and, therefore, less challenging, for the descent.
I would try anything, just so that I wouldn't have to admit to myself that maybe, just maybe, I couldn't solve this problem on my own. Even after my collapse at the beginning of May, I stubbornly lifted the heel of my binding when I couldn't push the heel piece down myself. I skied on one leg, knowing that one misplaced ice chunk could leave me with my lower leg dangling and unattached. Even as I rode the lift, unable to dangle my weighed ski booted foot, I knew I was being just so unbelievably stupid. I could barely walk to the lift, but I had convinced myself that I was NOT going to miss June.
I was so frightened of not skiing, that I destroyed myself.
Now I am trying to mentally prepare myself to miss the entire 2017-2018 ski season.
But I must see this as my golden opportunity, a chance to grow up and change the way I look at skiing and life. A chance to break my obvious & dangerous addiction and come back both physically stronger and mentally wiser.
Time spent celebrating the culture of skiing and not just the sport itself.
My favorite days this past ski season were not the ones spent racing for powder or that perfectly groomed morning.
They were the days in May that I spent icing my knee at the bottom of the Superstar Quad, celebrating the Killington lifestyle with a community of the most amazing ski bums that I have ever known.
I cannot wait to listen to your stories; to share your adventures on our mountain; and to celebrate ski bum life by sharing a shot ski with you in the parking lot.
Look for me.
I may not have my skis on, but I will be there!!!