March 5, 2009: Back on Snow!

Beaver Creek, Colorado – After a four week hiatus, I finally returned to the snow. I was a little nervous going up the lift; I wasn’t sure how different things were going to feel, not only because of a new fear of falling and reinjuring my arm, but also because my balance would be off and my legs aren’t used to snowboarding.

So far my shoulder therapy and rebuilding have been going well. My range of motion is still somewhat limited but the strength is coming back. I have one of those uber athletic braces that restrict my movement so my arm doesn’t go into the position of dislocation, but it also restricts my natural arm flow. With the brace I can lift my elbow away from my body only about 45 degrees, but I used to ride with it out at 90 degrees.

The first run was uncomfortable. Things didn’t feel natural and didn’t flow. I’m sure I was very tense and stiff, and I had a bit of fear in my head. On each toeside I thought, “don’t fall, don’t fall”. I didn’t realize how much I depended upon my upper body for balance! Taking away the one arm threw everything off and forced me to rely solely on my legs and core (which actually is how you’re supposed to ride but no one does or can). During that first run, I thought, “uh-oh, this is going to take longer than I thought.”

Going up the lift after the first run was pretty depressing. I thought of all the progress I made so far this season and how well things were coming together, and how one little thing ruined it and it’s like I have to start the season over again. But then I lifted my head up and took a look at the beautiful day and the beautiful scenery and reminded myself that while racing and results are important, it’s also important for me to have fun and enjoy the journey. And that when it comes down to it, the reason why I’m here is because I love snowboarding.

That relaxed me a lot and I just started focusing on ‘flowing like water’ and feeling the snow beneath my feet, the wind in my face, and reconnecting with nature and the love of the sport. I consciously put all the negative thoughts  out of my head and started smiling. And that worked! My riding began feeling more natural and effortless, and while I was still aware of the brace and its restrictiveness, I felt, “Yeah! It’s coming back!” I started riding more aggressively and taking a few more chances to see how my legs react when put in different types of situations. And slowly my old and solid toeside started coming back.

For the rest of the day my runs got better and better and felt more solid. And surprisingly my legs didn’t get too tired – my off-snow training was good. While I’m not back 100% to where I was before the dislocation (it’ll still take days of freeriding to get there), I’m confident I’ll get there soon enough and can continue the progress I had earlier and finish out the remainder of the season strong. Overall a good day. Can’t wait to get back on the slopes tomorrow. Yay!


1 Response to “March 5, 2009: Back on Snow!”

  1. 1 Mark Kress March 13, 2009 at 12:14 am

    Eden-Very nice to ride with you today, its been awhile since I’ve seen you at the Beav. Be cautious with your shoulder, my little reminder today of why not to reach out for he snow is one that I have endured many time. My Burner just really pushes me to stretch it out and get low and I enjoy the feeling and the rush but the consequences can realy stink. Late season if your still in Colordo, it would be great to see you at Abasin for a day on the beach. I gaurentee you will enjoy it, best snow in the state and their grooming is excellent also. Good luck in your remaining races this season.

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