Friday, February 10, 2017

The Normalization of the Ouchiversary?

I'm not really sure where I want to go with this post. There is a part of me that wants to write about the approaching 4th Ouchiversary, but there is a part of me that doesn't feel the need to. It almost feels as if the Ouchiversary, February 23rd, is just a normal day of the year now. I mean, it will always be a day I spend on twin planks, but it's almost feeling like it doesn't represent anything anymore. At the same time, the Ouchiversary marks a huge turning point in my life and brings many emotions and some major PTSD. (I'm really good at hiding it now, but it's still there.) I know that as it gets closer to the 23rd, the latter statement will definitely hit...


Last year, I decided that I didn't want to have a goal for the Ouchiversary. It just resulted in me putting too much pressure on myself to meet that goal, and we all know that I already put a lot of pressure on myself with skiing (and everything in general). Anyone who knows me will tell you that. It was nice last year having already skied Dave's by the time the Ouchiversary rolled around and being able to just have fun with friends on the skiing all over Mammoth. I'll admit, I wasn't the most relaxed that day while skiing, but I was skiing and having fun with friends and that was all that mattered. 

This year we're actually not going to be around Mammoth for the Ouchiversary. We'll be at Revelstoke (aka The RealStoke) on the 4 year mark. It's going to be really weird for me not being able to spend the day with so many friends skiing at Mammoth. I'm sure it will be fun, but it will be weird to be away from so many dear friends who have been key in getting me back to ripping around on twin planks. 

Normalizing the Ouchiversary

Maybe this is the first step toward "normalizing" the day. Maybe it will just be an ordinary ski day, just at a different resort this time. I'm sure I'll still have vivid flashbacks leading up to it - how could I not?! I'm sure there will be tears shed - some from the memories of what happened, some of pure joy since I am skiing again after what happened. Maybe this really is the first of many steps to it becoming a normal day. I don't talk about what happened all that much anymore. I mean I have the blog that I update from time to time, I talk about it occasionally with small groups of people, but aside from that most would never even know what happened four years ago if I didn't say anything. I am taking a huge step way outside of my comfort zone in April and talking about the fall at NASA Armstrong's center-wide Safety Day. Maybe that's another step toward "normalizing" what happened?! We shall see. 

Having too much fun on the Backside of Three after 20' of fresh snow at Mammoth.

Season Three Adventures

This season hasn't started as well as I hoped it would. Most would say that I'm skiing great, and maybe at the same level I was mid-season last year, but I felt like I was struggling. At times I felt a lot more comfortable and faster than last season, but I could tell that I was very much in my head while skiing. Things really seemed to change the day after Christmas. Not sure what it was, but that day I felt like I was back in my groove from last season. I was just racing around all over and having a blast. Hell, I almost took a solo trip to the top, that's how good I was feeling. 

NOTE: My biggest pet peeve is being told where I should ski, especially when it comes to the top. Yes, I have the skills to ski the top and it's great, I've done it before, but I really hate the feeling of pressure to ski the top. Pressure means I start getting in my head about skiing.

Since that day, skiing has been great and getting better. Yeah, I've had some off moments, but overall I'm right back to where I left off last season. I still get in my head at times, but I'm getting better about pushing myself and trusting my skills on the twin planks. I mean, I had massive butterflies in my stomach on the T-Bar and hike up to Blackcomb Glacier, but I got over those butterflies and it was super fun skiing the glacier! I'm hopeful that as this season goes on and I continue to challenge myself, that the butterflies and head games will go away more and more. Stay tuned and we'll see what happens...

Enjoying the chilly air on the top of Whistler Peak.

Just before dropping into Blackcomb Glacier.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Third Season Is The Charm!

Last weekend I kicked off my third season of skiing since breaking my back. I figured it might be time to spend a little time writing, especially since I'm not skiing this weekend. I'm sure this will be a short post, but I've gotta start somewhere. :)

And So It Begins...

To say that life has been crazy since my last post is an understatement. Dave and I got married, we've been horrible influences dragging our friends backpacking (kidding... we are good influences!), and we've been dreaming about skiing - at Mammoth and in Canada! So, I can definitely say that I'm stoked that it is ski season again! It's been too long... 

It still seems like not that long ago I was taking my first steps toward spending time on the twin planks again. The return to skiing, with DSES, was a mix of anxiety, fear and excitement. Little did I know, that weekend would be the first steps toward reigniting my love affair with skiing. It's been a roller coaster of a journey, but I'm so grateful to be skiing again. I've made a lot of progress over the past two seasons, some could say that is an understatement, but I think I'm most looking forward to this season. 

I'm ready to be skiing all over the hill again! 

Last season presented a lot of mental challenges, some were oddly easy to overcome, others were not so much. I managed to deal with the mind fuck that was seeing two very close chairlift falls right in front of me during the season. Luckily the kiddos were okay, but that just hit a bit too close to home. It was really hard getting those images out of my head while skiing, as were the flashbacks I was having to my own incident. Amazingly, they didn't last too long. I somehow was able to get back to focusing on the skiing I was doing! Note: I will admit that I still do have chair lift nightmares, but they don't stop me from doing what I love.

The one thing that seems to still get me, that I plan to attack this season, is the mental game when it comes to skiing. Last season I spent a lot of time working on my skills to be able to ski all sorts of terrain at Mammoth. I was playing follow the leader down steep stuff and not really thinking twice about it. I even managed to ski Dave's Run and LOVED it! I know that I have the skills to ski whatever is in front of me, because I've found myself in all sorts of situations, but there is one thing that still haunts me: getting in my head! 

It's really easy to tell when I get in my head - I start to hesitate skiing things I've skied so many times before, I seem to be unable to focus on my skiing, I become almost fearful and queasy at times. Don't get me wrong, I can still ski and enjoy it, but it's almost like I'm a completely different person/skier when I get in my head and start thinking too much. I think more than anything, this is the one thing that I need to work on this upcoming season. While I still have some issues with nerve damage in my feet/legs and my bionic back, I really think the mind games might be the thing that is holding back my skiing more than anything else. I plan on attacking that this season. 

I prefer to eat pizza, but I still make it for laughs on skis sometimes.

While I might not be racing down the slopes or hucking some meat of cliffs/jumps, I am definitely enjoying every second I get to spend on the twin planks. A few years ago after I broke my back, I never thought I'd have a second chance at skiing. I got that second chance and I'm definitely make the most of it... and making many lifelong friends along the way!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Evolution... and Recon

The Evolution

I haven't really felt like writing in a long time, and to be honest, I don't really feel much like doing it right now. I started this blog with the plan of it being a way to process what happened and the journey to getting my life back after the injury. The blog has definitely served its purpose, although I'm still not sure I've fully 'healed' or ever will, so I just feel like it's time for me to change the way I think about it. I always felt like I needed to have posts somehow be related to the recovery and/or the injury, which is why I haven't posted in a long time. I just couldn't write and didn't have any desire to. I'm not going to go into many details, but I'm just going to make this be more of a place to post about weekend adventures with more photos than verbiage. Like the name of the blog states, it's about my adventures, so I'm going to focus more on that. 

The Recon

After a very long ski season (almost 8 solid months), we'd started doing a lot of day hikes, but I hadn't been motivated to backpack yet. Yeah, our wedding is a backpacking wedding, but in general I just wasn't overly into it. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE backpacking and exploring the Sierra, I just wasn't feeling motivated until recently. When a long weekend happened to hit, it felt like a good time to start backpacking.  

We decided to have our first backpacking trip of the season be a little wedding recon mission. We knew Muriel Lake was the location, but we just didn't know where at Muriel we wanted to have the ceremony. Problem solved. We figured out where we want to get married at the lake and threw in some extra wandering adventures for good measure. I'll let the photos do the talking... and maybe throw in a few comments too.

Falls and Snow. Just below Loch Leven.

Home sweet home and Muriel Lake

Muriel Lake from the ridge up to Wahoo and Goethe Lakes

Wahoo Lakes. A nice excursion after setting up camp.

A wedding venue with amazing views in all directions. 

Our humble abode with a view at Muriel Lake

The sky was on fire on Friday night. No complaints here.

Morning calm at Muriel

Lower Desolation Lake and the Glacier Divide

Heading back down from Piute Pass. We'll be back very soon...

More photos are verbiage can be found here:

Friday, February 26, 2016

Three Years... and Skiing Better Than Ever!

Three years. Hmmm. I still can't believe it's been three years. Some days it seems like only yesterday I was laying below the chairlift on icy snow waiting for ski patrol. Some days it seems like only yesterday I was in the hospital attempting to walk again after my surgeries. Some days it feels like I never broke my back. Some days I wonder why I'm so lucky to be walking and skiing again.

The Struggle Is Real

There are those that think I'm doing great - physically and emotionally. Physically, I am doing pretty damn great considering what happened to me three years ago. I mean, if you didn't know what happened, you wouldn't be able to tell these days. Ripping around Mammoth, hiking and backpacking in the Sierra, those aren't things someone who broke their back pretty bad would be doing, right?! There are some aspects I've started to give up on, like say the nerve regeneration in my legs and feet, because it's been three years. I've learned to adapt the best I can given what I've been dealt. Emotionally, now that's a whole different ballgame. Yes, I'm beyond stoked that I am skiing my little heart out again and I'm extremely grateful for all that I can do. There are still demons from the accident that I can't shake. There are some friends who think I've talked about and have overcome them, but it's really not true. I might look great from the outside, but I'm really good at hiding the internal struggle. I'm pretty sure that this side of things feels worse than the pain I was in after the accident. I'm really hoping this will fade away with time, just like physical scars do.

No Goals, Just Fun!

I wrote in my last post that I didn't really want to have any hard goal for this year. I didn't want to put any pressure on myself for the 3rd ouchiversary OR have any pressure put on me by others to do what they thought I should do. Heh. I honestly just wanted a fun and mellow weekend, and ouchiversary, of carving up Mammoth. I think I got that after I decided to disregard what everyone else wanted. It helped that I had skied Dave's Run two weeks prior with Cara when the opportunity presented itself, so there wasn't any major pressure to ski that. I think I'm going to let some photos do the talking since I'm not feeling too wordy today...

Kicking it back to two weeks prior when Cara and I skied Dave's Run with absolutely perfect snow. Note that I'm smiling... and that smile never left my face. We forgot our selfie sticks, but I think we did okay. 
No side slipping. No being a pansy ass. I actually skied Dave's Run. Oh, and it's much steeper than it looks in this photo. PC: Cara
Sunday morning was absolutely beautiful. Spent the morning skiing with Maggie and exploring new-to-me terrain at Mammoth. Super fun!
Skiing partners in crime. We hadn't really skied together since the 2nd ouchiversary, so it was really nice to ski together again... and let Maggie see just how much progress I'd made since the last time we skied together. I enjoyed mentioning how I wanted to warm up on Patrolmen's.
Just another beautiful afternoon at Mammoth. 
Monday was an absolutely fun day of skiing with Dave and Carolyn even joined us for a little bit.
Ripping down Face of Three might be one of my favorite things to do these days. Love the Face! Who would have thought I'd spend 90%+ of my time skiing blue-blacks and black diamonds?!?
Last year on the ouchiversary, I skied Patrolmen's as my goal. A black diamond scared the crap out of me back then. Now I'm warming up on Patrolmen's with style! What a difference a year makes.
An absolutely fun morning of shredding awesome snow with so many friends at Mammoth. I could not have asked for a better way to mark the 3rd ouchiversary.
Post-skiing lunch with great friends. So thankful for so many coming out to celebrate the day.

No Pressure... Just Say YES!

Last year, I made it a goal to ski a black diamond on the ouchiversary. I was about to ski my first black diamond on the day of the accident, so skiing a black diamond meant something to me. While it might not have given any sort of closure to what happened, it was a good goal for that day. With all the progress I made after that day, and especially this season on the twin planks, a fun and mellow day of skiing with no pressure is what I wanted... and is what I needed. While I might not totally have closure or be able to deal with the stress of the ouchiversary, I've learned that I can still have a lot of fun on that day. Making fun memories to replace the bad ones is a good start. One thing that I have learned this ski season for sure, especially while skiing with Cara, is that my new favorite word is YES!

Many thanks to all of my friends that have been so supportive during this crazy journey. Much love. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Reassessing What Goals Mean

I've been thinking about a new post for awhile, but for some reason, I just have not been able to write. A lot as happened since the last post, but nothing nearly as exciting as getting engaged to Dave. We took a road trip to Glacier National Park, which was absolutely amazing, and were constantly hiking in the Sierra. Heck, we even went to see Florence + The Machine at the Hollywood Bowl! Oh, and we've been skiing non-stop since Mammoth opened a week early. Hooray for snow! I've had plenty to write about, but it just hasn't felt right. Then I got a little nudge from Jim that the bionic woman seemed to have fallen off the face of the Earth. He was right: I had fallen off the face of the Earth it seemed, in so many ways (that I won't go into right now). His little nudge also made me realize that the three-year ouchiversary was only a month away! Yikes! Where does time go?!

Three Years and Counting...

Usually I set goals to conquer on the ouchiversary, but I haven't been able to think of something that means a lot to me this season. For the one-year mark, I just wanted to be on skis again, so we toured around the Lakes Basin. That scared the crap out of me and it's FLAT!! On the two-year mark, I skied my first black diamond, which was what I was about to do the day of the accident. That scared the crap out of me too, since it was way out of my comfort zone and things still hadn't 'clicked' yet, but Maggie made it super fun! For the three-year mark, I just can't seem to think of anything that means something to me. I mean, I eat up the black diamond I skied on the two-year mark like it's no big deal now. I've toyed with the idea of skiing Dave's Run or something off the top, but that really doesn't mean anything special to me. I've just not been that much into a "goal" for some reason… probably because I’ve been more into setting skiing goals for the season as a whole.

I was reminded this past week that I don't need to prove anything to anyone. I don't need to prove anything to myself. I broke my back almost three years ago, and unless you know about it, you wouldn't be able to tell. I'm skiing all the time again, infinitely better than before, and loving every second of it. I spent A LOT of time in lessons with Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra last season, and that has definitely paid off. I'll never be able to thank them enough for making skiing fun again for me (I’ve heard a rumor that I might attempt to volunteer for them next season). I almost feel like I’m back in my groove, a much better skiing groove than before, and accepting the “new normal”. I’m so appreciative of this new normal and have definitely learned through this whole bionic adventure, not to take anything for granted. I still have my moments, but I'm leaps and bounds ahead of where I thought I'd ever be after what happened three years ago, and loving every second of it! 

What will I do for the three-year ouchiversary since I don't have a "goal"? Will I ski Dave's Run before my Dave does? Maybe. Will I rip down a black diamond? Probably. Will I be skiing with friends? Most definitely! I might not have a "goal", but I know that I'll have a smile on my face the entire time!

Disclaimer :: I don't really feel totally committed to this post like I normally do with all of my others. It just didn't feel like my head and heart were fully into this one.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Evolution of Adventure

I decided that maybe it was time to start blogging again, or at least temporarily have it come out of hibernation. I haven't really felt too wordy lately, so I'll probably just start doing shorter posts. We'll see how things pan out...

The Summer of Adventure?!

After the amazing ski season I had, I was thinking maybe this would be the summer of adventure. In addition to our typical hiking and backpacking, I was thinking of crazier backpacking trips, climbing mountains, SUP (suggested to me by Maggie Moo - a great suggestion too!), etc., ... you know, adventure! Well, there was some adventure in there, but not like I had envisioned. As it would turn out, I had more adventure doing our normal summer hiking and backpacking than I anticipated. Who knew?!

It started out like last summer, mixing weekends up between hiking and backpacking. No big deal. We went to Young Lakes and Minaret Lake early in the season - both with a lot of illegal camping and morons (note: we were not the morons or the ones camping illegally). We had fun dealing with hail at Moonlight Lake, but loved seeing the clouds move all around the Evolution peaks (stunning)! We had to cancel our Bear Lakes Basin trip due to major storms over the July 4th holiday weekend, but what we did instead was just as much fun! Swimming in Upper (burrr) and Lower Lamarck Lakes with Moosie, riding an adaptive bike in the parade with DSES, pre-celebrating an engagement with Carlynn and Grady. Not too shabby. While it feels like there hasn't been as much backpacking as last summer, there has been more hiking mixed with other adventures (like SUP, Blues-a-palooza, etc). Adventure!

Enjoying the views on the way to the summit of Mt Dana!

Moonlight Lake between rounds of hail.
Seeing Darwin again for the first time in years brought tears to my eyes.

The Return to Evolution

Evolution. It has eluded me since the summer before breaking my back. It's the one place that I've been yearning to return to since the accident, even more than Precipice Lake. It's haunted me for the past two and a half years. I set goals the past two summers about returning to Evolution - or at least setting eyes on it again. I failed at reaching those goals. With the lack of backpacking we'd done this summer, I was starting to wonder if Evolution would elude me for yet another summer. We were about to find out...

I knew what was coming on this trip. I knew what was going to happen in Evolution Basin. That 'pressure' made this trip even more important. I needed to make it to Evolution this year - for myself most importantly, but also for what Dave had in store. I knew there was a ring - we gave it to Maggie Moo and Jim to keep safe for us while in the backcountry. I knew there was an adventure ahead of us, and I was ready to embrace it (version 1.4 or so of our original plans). 

Note: I'm going to let the photos do the story telling. I'm taking a different spin on this post since words can't explain what it meant to me to be back in Evolution again. Yes, I shed tears at the sight of Darwin and Mendel from Lamarck Col. Yes, I shed even more tears of joy as I set my eyes on Evolution Lake, Sapphire Lake, and all of Evolution Basin again. Did I mention that Evolution has always held a special place in my heart? It's extra special now...

Darwin and Mendel from Lamarck Col. Tears of joy were shed.

Hmmm. Apparently we failed to pay attention to the potential for smoke. Smoke from the Rough Fire would be with every day on this trip. Not ideal, but I WAS BACK IN EVOLUTION! 

Darwin Canyon is absolutely stunning. The lakes are beautiful shades of blue that even the smoke couldn't mask. At least the smoke was clearing a bit.

Home, sweet home. Darwin Bench is amazingly green and lush. A great place to end the day - 8+ miles, lots of elevation gain/loss, miles of smiles.

Evolution Lake. It'd been 3+ years since I'd been here. I still can't find the words to adequately express what it meant to return to this amazing place after the ups and downs of the past 2.5 years of being bionic.

Sapphire Lake. I could sit here for weeks and just soak it all in. Hands down my favorite lake in all of the Sierra. Sorry, Precipice... #sorrynotsorry

The smoke started to drift in as we approached Wanda Lake. Black Giant, Muir Pass and the Goddard Divide are still stunning, even when smoke dances around them. Goddard would wait for another trip...

Muir Hut and the moonscape that is Evolution Basin. It was getting much smokier by this point and it was quite trippy not being able too see the views that were etched in our minds from three years ago. McGee was just cloaked in smoke... such a unique perspective on things.
Proof that we made it to Muir Hut. It was so good to be back here. So many memories.

What a difference a few hours makes. Heading back down toward Evolution Lake from Muir Pass. The smoke made it seem like we were in a whole different world. Mind blowing how quickly it changed...

Sapphire Lake is still stunning, regardless of the conditions. There's something about this lake and Mt Huxley that I just absolutely love. Stunning.

So... this happened at Evolution Lake. I said yes, obviously. Totally caught me off guard because after we ruled out Goddard, I thought it would happen at Sapphire Lake or Muir Hut. It didn't happen at either place. All of a sudden, I hear "Moon River" playing and then it happened. Note the lack of Mt Huxley in the background due to the smoke. Many thanks to Maggie for the hilarious ring she let Dave use in the backcountry. That as a surprise and I still owe her a good ass-kicking for that. 

Smokey sunset at Evolution Lake. An amazing day on so many levels. 15+ miles, lots of memories.

A bluebird morning at Evolution Lake. No complaints.

One of the iconic views of Evolution from McClure Meadow. Three years ago I was too focused on miles on the JMT, that I forgot to enjoy all of the views... and forgot to get this one. I didn't forget this trip. It was so nice... until three annoying kids decided to talk in the loudest voices possible. At least I had 10 minutes of peace and quiet!

Well, we knew the smoke would be back. At least it waited until we were out of Evolution Valley. This was the view before we started the switchbacks down to the junction with Goddard Canyon. A lot of elevation loss in a short distance!

Smokey sunset colors as we finally reached Hutchinson Meadow. We apparently were on a roll while hiking and so we kept going, rather than setting up camp at a popular junction at 2pm in the smoke. The map make the last 5+ miles to the meadow look mellow. Instead there was some sadistic up and down and up and down at the beginning. Oh well, adventure! It was also ridiculously smokey at this point - Pilot Knob was in front of us and we couldn't see it! Yikes! 19+ miles, a lot of elevation loss, gain and smoke!

Bluebird morning on our last day of our trip (cut it short due to the unhealthy inhaling of smoke). When we got to Piute Pass, we could see the smoke starting to rise. 12 miles of mellow hiking - except for my knee that was about to die from the day before. 

Maggie and I recreating the Evolution Lake photo with the real ring. She delivered the pretty blue box to Dave and he proposed again in front of friends and complete strangers. Oh, and he turned bright red too. Such fun! 
More photos here: The Evolution of a Proposal

Adventure is in the eye of the beholder...

At times I still feel like this was the summer of non-adventure, but at the same time, it was a huge adventure in its own special way. Yeah, I might not have been backpacking as much as I had last summer by this time, but I made my return to Evolution. I spent more time hanging out with friends - jumping in Upper Lamarck Lake with Laura, hanging out with Carlynn, Grady, Carolyn, etc., at Blues-a-palooza, SUP with Maggie and Jim - and loved it. Oh, and I'm still wrapping my head around the fact that Dave and I are engaged. As Maggie Moo pointed out to me today, "getting engaged is pretty darn adventurous!" She had a really good point. I might have had one view of adventure at the beginning of this summer, but it evolved as the summer progressed. It's all about evolution! 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

My Ski Season: The Best Thing Since... Sliced Bread?!

This ski season has proven to be better than anything I could ever imagine it would be. Yes, people have been whining about the lack of snow in the Sierra this year... but have those people really been out to even enjoy the snow we did get?! I'll admit, the lack of snow sucked, but what we did get made for some awesome skiing, and Mammoth Mountain did a great job making sure of that. As I write this post, I already have 33 days of skiing under the belt of my ski pants. 33 DAYS!!! That's a pretty respectable number of days for anyone, especially in a good snow year. Oh, and did I mention that's 33 days for someone who broke their back?!? Maybe all those whiners just need to shut the eff up and ski!! Just sayin'... if I can do it, there's no excuse!

Progress Beyond What I Could Ever Imagine

In my last post, it was very clear that I was thrilled with meeting my goal on the two-year mark of the accident. Well, as thrilled as I was to meet that goal, I also knew that I still had a lot of work to do. If you really know me, you know how hard I am on myself. Skiing is no exception. Yes, I was stoked to meet my goal, but I could see there was still a long way to go (I knew it, and it was reaffirmed in video and a list of things to work on). Maybe I should restate this just in case you missed it: I AM REALLY HARD ON MYSELF. 

I'm trying to remember when things clicked, but I can't really put my finger on it. It was a week or two after I met my goal, that's all I really remember... and that I could feel it. I actually felt more comfortable while skiing and wasn't really afraid to "point 'em down." It was crazy and awesome all at the same time! From that moment, the progress I was making just seemed to take off. I mean, I had made a lot of progress up until then, but this felt different. I was really starting to incorporate more flexion and extension, I was standing taller and not "back-seating it" as much, my upper body had quieted down, etc. Oh, and did I mention I started skiing Chair 3 at Mammoth (the easiest ways down are Blue-Black runs) and LOVED it?! I think Jaclyn knows the look of fear I had the first time we got on the lift, but that quickly disappeared, and we lapped Saddle Bowl many times.

The following weekend was looking like it was going to be my last weekend on the slopes for the season: there was no new snow in the forecast, and the temperatures were on the rise. I was determined to make the most of it. Friday was definitely not a stellar day for me - I was in my head too much and just couldn't stop thinking. You know it's bad when your instructor says they can tell you are thinking too much just by looking at your face. I think that day was just more of a warm-up for the rest of the weekend. Saturday and Sunday proved to be my best days on the slopes yet. I skied with Carolyn both days, and she is the one person who has consistently been able to get me out of my head while skiing. It's amazing the difference getting out of my head can make - and I'm not the only one who noticed it. Maggie had joined us for a few runs on Sunday, and she even commented that I'm skiing much more athletically and with great rhythm. Carolyn and I skied well past the end of the lesson, with permission of course, and the way I skied and how I felt meant more to me than meeting my goal on the two-year mark. It was phenomenal... and I wasn't ready for it to be over! 

Skiing with Maggie and Carolyn on my "last day" of the season.

I learned a lesson the first week in April: if I think ski season is over and I throw all of my hiking stuff in the washer, it will PUKE two feet of snow at Mammoth. It happened. 

Miraculously, my ski season didn't end when I thought it did. Two feet of fresh snow did wonders for Mammoth and for my skiing. Carolyn and I were skiing together again, so that automatically meant I'd be out of my head, right?! Not so fast. The first run had me really worried - I apparently forgot how to ski after taking one weekend off. Once I got out of my head, I was back on track and feeling really comfortable again. We spent the morning lapping Chair 12, which had re-opened, and Chair 3. It was such fun! I even skied the Face of Three for the first time which really had me stoked - and apparently everyone at DSES when they heard I did it too! I was really nervous at the top of it - it's steep and much more of a black diamond that Patrolmen's - and Carolyn can attest to this. My face said it all - a look of fear. Well, that look quickly went away after a few turns, and I thought it was a blast! We were having so much fun that we spent the afternoon free skiing together, too. Carolyn informed me that I ski much better outside of a lesson too - because I put way too much pressure on myself. It's true. I could feel how much better I was skiing. Sunday was more of the same. We spent a lot of time lapping Broadway and Saddle Bowl, and it was the most comfortable I'd ever been on both of them; apparently I was skiing a lot faster, too! Carlynn joined us for some free skiing after lunch, and it was awesome. We lapped Face of Three AND Fascination! I was lapping Black Diamonds!!! IT WAS AWESOME!!! 

The Demons Within...

While my skiing has progressed like crazy since the two-year mark, the one thing that's been extra hard to deal with is the accident itself. I thought that I had processed how my life changed in a split second on February 23rd, 2013, which now seems like a long time ago. I thought that all the writing I was doing on this blog really helped me process it and put it all behind me. One thing that I learned from after the two-year re-birthday is that wasn't true. Looking back at the one-year mark, it didn't really seem to impact me much. I mean, I remembered what happened and all that jazz, but it wasn't too out of the ordinary. Well, life since the two-year mark is anything but ordinary and I think a lot of that is because of the fact that I'm facing my demons and skiing again. 

I was flying high after skiing Patrolmen's on February 23rd, but later that week, I crashed. I don't know what it was, but I just felt really unsettled. I've chatted about what happened quite a bit over the past two years, but I've never really talked about or processed what happened. It was becoming quite clear... to me and to Maggie. I'm really not going to go into details, but she and I have talked quite a bit over the past few weeks and it's been helping little by little. I wasn't thinking that returning to skiing would dig up the demons again, I thought I had dealt with them already, but I'm so grateful to Maggie for taking the time to chat so often. 

The Season of Thanks...

Now that ski season is winding down again, or so it seems right now, I'm still blown away by the progress I've made in one season. I went from skiing the easiest run at Mammoth (it's so flat you have to push yourself with your poles sometimes) to lapping legit Black Diamond runs... and LOVING them!! It blows my mind! I never thought I'd enjoy the steep runs or be skiing as often as I am, but I'm doing it! There are so many people that have been so supportive along the way - friends, family, everyone at DSES, coworkers, complete strangers. It's been crazy. Looking back on this ski season, I can honestly say that working with Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra has been the best thing that has happened to me since breaking my back. I can't thank everyone there enough for everything and helping me get that piece of my life back that was missing.