Back on Track

After an interesting year of injury, surgery and recovery I am finally back into the northern hemisphere winter.

My first day back in the mountains at Verbier had its ups and downs but aside from some front of the knee pain everything works!

I soon remembered how hard it is to ski fat, long radius big mountain comp skis on icy groomer runs, so I decided to try my luck just off the side of the trails and it proved to be much nicer! Day two on my new easier turning Head Cyclics was even better, more pow, more runs, less pain and a big grin at the end of the day. Which just got bigger on day three. 

Day 2 In Verbier


Nine months of rehab seems like a long time when you are lying in a hospital bed post op, with tubes in your knee, still hallucinating slightly from the anaesthetic and eating club sandwiches. But like everything, it comes and it goes without so much as break for tea and biscuits.

I already knew time flies when you are having fun. Surprisingly time flies just as fast when you are fully occupied on anything. And I was. Setting and completing goals from day one. At first it was the little challenges that kept me motivated, even more than the main goal of getting back to skiing and competing. I always felt like I was winning, because I was doing new stuff every week.  

I have spent the better part of a year largely separated from ordinary life, mostly keeping to myself focusing only on training and rehabilitation. I feel I put in as much work as I could have. I was lucky though. I was living at home so I had nothing to distract me from my strict training programme.

A video posted by Sam Lee (@samibexlee) on

The combination of being a bit of a hermit and being forced to move slow meant I had a lot of time to watch the world do its thing. After physio or gym sessions, I would often drive down to the lake and watch the sun set at all the different places behind the mountains. I can still picture in my head how the sun’s path across the sky changes in angle over the seasons. 2014 was a good year for sunsets.

I have been on the go all my life and this period of inactivity has seriously reinforced my love of being highly active and using my body. After the early months with only relatively light weight indoor exercises to break up the day, all I wanted to do was go for a run or ride my bike or do something to get my heart racing. So when I finally started walking without crutches, swimming and biking on the road I realised how extraordinarily positive an impact exercise and activity have on my mental state and general wellbeing.

So strangely there are a lot of positives that come out of an obvious bad situation.

Being excited by the little things was the best way to approach it for me, and this is how I will continue all the way up to my first 4* comp, at Nendaz, mid-March. I will be training at Verbier for the next few weeks. And then doing a warm up no pressure 2* comp at Pitztal, followed by a full dress rehearsal 3* comp at Chandolin. Then the rehab is complete.

Kitchener Paddle Mission Jan