Last weekend I competed at the Nendaz Freeride 4* in Switzerland.
It was the most significant milestone so far as it was my crash on the qualifier day of this event 12 months ago that set this whole process of injury, recovery and milestones in action.
Standing at the top of the Qualifier day I was nervous. Surprisingly I was less affected by the memory of a year ago than I imagined I would be.
Same as at Chandolin I skied a straightforward and reasonably mellow line and although I hesitated on my last air I took everything to my feet clean and safe.
It was enough to qualify me into the finals in 18th place.
To make it to finals day with a mellow run in the comp that blew my knee was a big deal to me.
On day two I picked a run with more features and bigger drops than I have attempted in a comp so far this season, but I skied it really safe and gave myself a lot of room to hesitate on take off, I wanted to make absolutely sure I would be landing square, as landing back seat still hurts enough that it is hard to hold on to any mistakes.
I had a boat load of fun and finished my run clean with the exception of missing my last cliff as a result of taking the previous drop on the wrong angle. My knee was hurting at the end and it is still pretty tender 2 days post comp, so I am definitely skiing at my limit.
I only scored a 54, which is about right considering how safely I skied and how gnarly the other guys were getting! It still put me in 16th place overall (second 16th in two comps).
I am really happy with how I did considering my plan for the season has been to ski safe and attempt to gather enough points to re qualify for 4* events next year, which I am on track to achieve.
At the end of my run the only thing I could think about was the line I want to ski next year. At that point I made a commitment to be in the gym a whole lot so that by the end of the year I will be as strong as an Ox!
Even though I am not totally recovered, landing both my qualifier and final day runs with only one mistake makes me feel like I have beaten the bastard and that things can only improve.
My performance at Nendaz was already a big step up from Chandolin so I am unbelievably excited for the day that I can send a full noise run in competition!