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!

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.