Going For Gold 

Back on snow, one step at a time

After a few weeks off snow, I have found my way back.

For the past week I have been on my skis, building slowly and getting back into my rhythm. I came out to Alberta on Nov. 10 where we launched the team at the Canadian Olympic Park.

Since that date I have been working with our team physiotherapists everyday to give my knee the best treatment and get back to the snow feeling strong and confident.

It took one full week of training in Calgary with one of our team therapists, Kent Kobelka. He was also there when I injured my knee in Soelden, Austria, so he knows the history. Communication between therapists, doctors, coaches and athlete is very important when returning from an injury.

It’s important for me to communicate everything that my surgeon told me, i.e. the restrictions I need to be aware of and certain precautions that I need to take. My therapist also contacted my surgeon to get the full report on what was done during the surgery.

When I came back to the snow it was very important for me to let the therapist and my coaches know exactly how my knee was feeling. On my first couple days back on snow I skied with our physiotherapist and we just took it run by run.

The snow conditions here at Nakiska where great, the sun was out, the run was smooth and groomed and it wasn’t too cold.

It’s also very important to stick to a good warm-up and activation program for my knee, or whichever area has been injured. When I step out onto the snow I need to be confident that the joint is warm, moving smoothly and is ready to ski!

Right away I felt strong. After a few runs I felt like my rhythm was back and honestly wanted to jump back on the course.

This is why is was important for me to have our therapist there because he quickly said, "Britt we are going into the lodge and following the plan we set out – it’s time to ice." So that’s what I did.

Icing is very important. Ice! Ice! Ice! I never believed it before but now ice is my best friend. I would ice my knee in the lodge and then once again go through my warm-up and activation program. This takes about 15 to 20 minutes and is a mix of exercises using tubing and some agility training.

On Wednesday when we woke up to go skiing we had a bit of a surprise – fresh snow, a good 20 centimetres. Now, these are exactly the conditions that I need to be conservative in these days, but I went up anyway because who can pass up fresh snow? I didn’t take as many runs as I had in the days prior and I also made sure that I took more time to warm up the joint.

The coaches and physiotherapist were concerned by conditions, and wanted me to stay in. I chose to go out because I felt strong and confident that I could benefit more by being on snow. It was key for me on that day to let them know this, and I felt better because it was me who was pushing them for a change, and not the other way around. I also got to ski some knee-deep powder!

We have a couple more days here before travelling to Park City, Utah on Nov. 25 for the next World Cup giant slalom and slalom races. The other girls, Gail Kelly and Allison Forsyth, have been training with the Swedish women’s World Cup team, which is here at Nakiska for their first time.

Also training was our men’s team and the Swiss men’s World Cup team.

In all my years training at Nakiska I haven’t seen such good snow conditions as we’ve had this year. I’m happy to be back on snow and am looking forward to the upcoming weeks, but for now I am taking things day by day as I try to build back my confidence and strength.

I am thankful for the strong staff around me, and for their great recovery plan for my return to racing. I hope that everyone back home is getting ready for the new season and that it’s snowing hard.

Enjoy, have fun, and always cheer on your Canadians!

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