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Pro Skier Problems, by KC DEANE


Most people that you talk to look at professional athletes and think, man they got the life.  Travel all over the world, just doing what you love, what an easy life.  Now I’m not saying that isn’t exactly the case.  I get to go ski and see amazing places all over the world, and that indeed is pretty awesome.  Even as a teenager looking up to pro skiers and thought the same thing,  but you never really comprehend what the athletes go through year to year.

This year for me has been tough.  The winter started off by an amazing trip to Japan. Great snow, amazing people, and of course the food is always a highlight being over there, but the list of injuries this season seem to have started off there.  While carrying a 70lbs backpack filled with flash and camera gear I got pulled off a large drop and hurt my knee.  3 days later after my knee started feeling better I re-injured the same knee which plagued me for the rest of the trip.  As an athlete its so frustrating to not be 100%.  Imagine going to work everyday and only being able to do it at 60%, not exactly the best recipe for success. After Japan I took some time to get my knee strong and headed north to British Columbia to start filming with Voleurz.  After a few weeks of being there, and only getting to film a few days I was hitting a jump and went a little to large and severely sprained my left ankle.  When I came to a stop I was in so much pain I couldn’t even stand up.  I limped over to one of the sleds and sat there shaking in pain.  I ended up filming the rest of the day and just tried to fight through the pain.  After one more day of trying to film the pain was too great and had to take the next 8-9 days off just to get back to being able to get my foot and ankle into my ski boot.  Finally back to where I can ski, only about 75% but still good enough to shoot and start filming.  Only a few days after finally feeling strong again, I’m back in Mt Baker shooting and decided to ski a line that I have been looking at for a few years now. Widowmaker.  It’s a 2 hour boot pack to the top of the peak, followed by a multi pitch rappel to get into the 50 degree line filled with spines.  As I got in and took my first few turns the snow quickly turned to ice and I began rag dolling down almost the entire face before I self arrested.  Mid fall I felt myself cartwheeling through ice chunks, at one point I was sure that I snapped my right arm, and or dislocated my shoulder.  As I slid to a stop the pain in my shoulder and knee quickly took over.  However I did hike back up get my ski and ski the line I had just fallen on.  After the adrenaline wore off the pain really started to sink in.  Sitting here as I write this, my knee resembles some sort of large fruit.  ACL test showed my knee is intact but I have massive swelling and can only bend my knee to 90 degrees.

Seems like just as soon as you get healthy enough to get back out there something else pops up, wether it be a nagging injury or a new one.  The most frustrating part is not being able to ski, or in some cases not being able to ski 100%.  Not exactly something I had imagined when I dreamed about becoming a professional athlete.  They never showed this in the movies, but then again when I’m headed up to the top of a line at sunrise, surrounded by mountain peaks as far as you can see and perfect snow, I think about people that aren’t able to do this so what am I complaining about?