VIDEO: August Trees | 1.5 Years Out Of Injury, Perspective Leads To Powder

LadyBrains |

South America in August, 2017

It’s my first time.


I’ve been trying to make the migration to South America for an endless winter for 10 years, but there was always an excuse.

I don’t have enough time. I don’t have enough money, I have to work. I don’t know how. I don’t speak Spanish well enough. The list goes on.

This last year however, some unique perspective wiggled its way through all of my excuses.

The Longest Year Of My Life: 

In February 2016 I blew my ACL in a 2* FWQ Big Mountain competition at Sierra at Tahoe, CA. My season was over, I missed competing in the rest of the FWQ Tour and the Rahlves Banzi Tour. I missed one of the best spring ski seasons Tahoe has ever had. I turned 30 with a busted knee and a scheduled MRI to confirm the damages and schedule surgery. My future never looked so dim.

Heartbreak & Healing:

Recovery was long. Physical Therapy was like a flashlight on all my old injuries, pointing out the back injuries and hip injuries I had covered up with year round training and conditioning. The worst thing for your body is to do nothing, the second worst thing is to do nothing and then start training too hard. Lesson learned, don’t ask a competitive athlete if they can do more, the answer is yes.  “Should you do more?” is a better question.  I developed quad tendonitis, it set me back two months. The physical therapy for quad tendonitis is “do not use your quad”.  I couldn’t do anything again for two months. With crushed hopes I knew I wouldn’t start the ski season ready to rip.

My first, second and third day back skiing was at Alpine Meadows, CA in November, I cried. I was terrified. I was in pain. I didn’t feel like I was in love with skiing anymore.

Plan B:

I moved away from Tahoe to get some perspective. I got a regular ol’ job to take up my time and I told myself I was not going to have any goals associated with skiing. I would ski for fun and when I felt like it, I would not buy a pass, I would skin on flat easy roads and trails to get a work out and that’s it.

What Actually Happened:

In December I skied on Christmas, my first time not in Tahoe on Christmas in over 10 years. I skied Grand Targhee with my friends and their parents, we cruised a couple runs and I felt worked for days and days after. I skinned on flat access roads up Teton Canyon to keep the knee moving but it felt awful.

 In January I skied Jackson Hole Mountain Resort a handful of days with new co-worker friends. I learned to be a snob and only go out on powder days. I skinned up Snow King Resort before work at least once a week and took mellow runs down. I started feeling stronger, walking up and down stairs at work didn’t hurt as much and I could ski for a little longer every time with less stiffness afterwards.

1 Year Out of Injury:

In February I was invited to ski in Salt Lake, UT. I was hesitant, would I enjoy myself? would the trip be worth it? Yes. Absolutely. Four days of skiing spring like conditions in the Cottonwood Canyons had me hooked.

Light Bulb: 

I returned back to Jackson with a fervency.  I got a pass and skied every day off I had along with early mornings if I was going to work at night. By March I had already saved so much money from not competing for the season that I knew I could afford to plan a season extension. But, where would I go? Alaska in the Spring? Back to Tahoe and the Eastern Sierra? Mt. Hood? New Zealand? South America?


When your body fails you, perspective shows you that you were so lucky to be an athlete and to use the body you inhabit. Not everyone is so lucky. When you no longer identify as an athlete you are forced to ask yourself, what else am I capable of? I found that I am capable of a lot. I also found that I still have a very real love for skiing. Some may call it an addiction or a problem. I see it as a gift. Not many people can pick up their lives and leave the country and hemisphere to chase winter. Not everyone comes back from injury. Not everyone can feel fear and doubt and go anyway.


Overnight flights to a 20 hour bus ride led to the best season a girl could ask for. I’ve been in Bariloche, Argentina for a month and it has snowed almost everyday. Our first two days were sunny, for two days the mountain was closed due to wind and one day I was sick, other than that I’ve skied everyday.

South America has blown my mind!

My knee gets sore, my quad gets tired, but I am getting stronger and more confident everyday. 

lots of this. photo: snowbrains

This Season at Cerro Catedral, Bariloche, Argentina:


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3 thoughts on “VIDEO: August Trees | 1.5 Years Out Of Injury, Perspective Leads To Powder

  1. Good article don’t know what long term retirement plan you have but maybe you should start writing more.

    1. Well done mate. I blew out my back in 2007 at Park City – got a real sense of my own mortality, very quick. You don’t need to be a competitive athlete to realize that you only have so many days of skiing (or any physical activity) in life. I’m now 41, “middle aged” according to statistics. I switched to ski touring a while back, which was a twofer in terms of being more fun (more pow to myself), and easier on the back and knees. I limit my days on resort. Most importantly, I realize that I only have so many years of advanced skiing where I can push myself to skin up big summits and go down high-consequence terrain. I hope I will be able to ski well into my 70’s or 80’s. But I know that the tail end of that will be easygoing skiing, if at all. I’ve got a full-time desk jockey job, but my priorities have shifted considerably in the past few years. Even though the timing sucks work-wise and it’s going to be expensive as hell, I’m happy to say I’ll also be hitting Bariloche in a week or so, with a ski buddy of mine. 4 days out in the backcountry, 1 day on-resort, then 4 days to check out Buenos Aires. Because I’ll only be healthy and 41 once in my life! Good luck on the rehab, and good on you for the important mental/philosophical adjustment.

    2. Thanks John! Writing for SnowBrains this summer has been great, I hope to continue in to winter.

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