Over the last two years following an injury to my right knee I have been patient, strategic and optimistic as I continued to pursue my dream of making the inaugural U.S Olympic Team for halfpipe skiing. In 2011 I got to see an 8 year long dream of mine come to fruition: our sport was accepted into the Olympics and would make its debut in 2014. I remember being so excited, not having a doubt in my mind that I would be there; why would I have a doubt when I had been on almost every podium for the previous 3 years? But things change. Adversity strikes (it can weaken you in some places and strengthen you in others), the field grows, and competition level rises. It has been a wild ride since that day in 2011 and I am so very grateful to have been a part of it.
Sadly, my journey to Sochi has come to an end. The injury that I sustained to my left knee at Dew Tour was not going to be managed by a simple scope as I had initially hoped. Once I was in surgery, the damage to my meniscus was too bad to just clean up, it needed to be sewn, which would require 4 weeks on crutches and would end my quest for the Olympics regardless of damage to the ACL. Ultimately, I had a full reconstruction of my ACL, meniscus repair and an articular cartilage paste graft, which uses stem cells from a non-weight bearing part of the knee in combination with a microfracture to regrow a full-thickness cartilage surface. This ensures the best health of my knee for the long term since living an active lifestyle and skiing for the rest of my life are big goals for my future- I want to be able to teach my kids to ski one day.
Even though I will not be able to say that I am an Olympian at the end of this 2014 season, the Olympics is still a huge part of my story. Setting my sights on a goal that didn't exist when I started out was a huge risk that brought many rewards. That single goal carried me so far and to walk away knowing that I did all that I could do, holding my head high, is all that I can ask for. Thanks to everyone for believing in me and giving me the chance to live out my dreams. I realize that I am amongst the fortunate ones.
As my team gathers in Park City for this final Olympic Qualifier I will be there cheering them on. I am so proud to see how far all of these ladies and men have come over the years. There are very familiar faces out there, ones who began this journey when I did, and some very fresh faces, but we all share one thing: we are Freeskiers. We are family.
Huge thank you to my sponsors: Under Armour, Volkl/Marker, Rockstar, Giro, Paul Mitchell, Liberty Mutual, i Ride Park City, US Freeskiing and The Stone Clinic for your continued support. Also, to my family, friends, coaches, fans and mentors- you have made this journey so special, there is no way that I would be here without each and every one of you. xo