My worst characteristic is undoubtedly my patience - or lack of. My best is my ability to fight. Putting those two together suggests a battle with coming back from injury where one succeeds by skiing slowly, improving gradually and taking the time to get back to hard, bumpy, full-on courses.
Inspired by the positive buzz and happy bubble of inspiration that I gained from being fortunate enough to experience first hand a few of our fabulous Gold medal winning performances at the London Olympics, I landed in New Zealand super eager to get on track to my own PB at the Sochi Olympics 2014.
The first few days I was forced to ease into the pace since it was soft and dumping with much necessary snow. I did an easy day GS and felt such great equilibrium between my left and right turns that I left the hill that day on a high.
The next opportunity to ski and conditions had changed radically - the previous moisture in the snow combined with overnight clear skies resulted in perfect race like conditions. The easy 17 gate corridor of flowing GS gates were far more difficult than predicted and all of us (I ski with the Canadian Women’s World Cup Team) fought and battled and, for me, crashed our way down (always good to get the first one out the way though!) But the challenge was intoxicating. As ski racers it is hard to not get addicted to arching that perfect turn - going into the fall line with symmetrical ankle, knee and hip pressure; feeling the ease of finishing the turn at the gate and being able to actively shift onto the new outside ski. The new equipment makes this timing of pressure even more important and, without the parabolic of the ski to help you, the sweet spot is ever so small. Miss it and you are battling.
I found the first few gates where the speed is lower and the flow yet to be established tough - my rhythm was off and I was grinding the turns. After the bogey gates at the top however, I started to get it. It was far from perfect but a work in progress. So I forgot about the fact I was returning from injury and powered on.
Having had to have the last few days off since, I learnt that 12 runs at the moment is too much for me! This is my first big injury and the first time I am doing a return to snow programme. I know I am an over excited personality and I know I frequently succumb to F.O.M.O (fear of missing out - in this case the other girls were skiing long, hard days - why can’t I? - well, for starters, they don’t have metal right legs!!!)
Having pain so specific it can make you feel physically sick is not something you expect when you are participating in something you love. I know it sounds cheesy but I was born to ski. The most natural thing in the world for me is being out in the mountains feeling the snow being sliced by my edges. But at the moment I am backing off my left turns. I am not committing to them because I am stopped by pain. So once again, I have learnt the only way I know - the hard way.
Thankfully we are not panicking as this is the time to learn. After such a great camp in Zermatt, I came here expecting huge things from myself. And that is okay... in fact if I didn’t let my expectations run away from me now and again I wouldn’t be the person I am today. You just have to work with your talents and more importantly know your weaknesses.
The weather is coming in which has forced people to take days off - this time playing into my favour. Two days off my leg will be loved and come Tuesday I will go up the hill and ski with quality and efficiency, stopping before I feel any discomfort and every day I will do one more run and push myself that little bit more.
For more information on Chemmy's comeback, check out www.j2ski.com.