Training for my return a glorious whirlwind | Skiing | CBC Sports

SkiingTraining for my return a glorious whirlwind

Posted: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 | 04:08 PM

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A knee injury has kept Canadian Alpine skier Kelly VanderBeek out of action for more than two years. (Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images) A knee injury has kept Canadian Alpine skier Kelly VanderBeek out of action for more than two years. (Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images)

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In the last three-and-a-half days I have spent approximately 23 hours in the air, 10 hours in five different international airports, 6 hours driving to and from airports, and I've landed in four different time zones, three Canadian provinces and three different coutries. 

In the last three-and-a-half days I have spent approximately 23 hours in the air, 10 hours in five different international airports, 6 hours driving to and from airports, and I've landed in four different time zones, three Canadian provinces and three different coutries.

Internal clock...what internal clock? 

Jetlag? Nah, I'm a rock.

Starting in your first World Cup after over two years absent, heck ya!

I joke, yet through this week of craziness it truly has been glorious. That's because this week has been filled with new beginnings that were years in the making.

To kick it off, I got to call my first race for Sportsnet. It was the women's World Cup slalom from Kranjsk-Gora, Slovenia. I got so into the race that I hope I didn't put my foot in my mouth too often! We taped it live to air and I really enjoyed the whole experience. The producers and team behind the camera were easy to work with - total professionals who enjoy thier job. I called the race along side Brad Fay, professional host, he kept things flowing so well that the hour passed before I knew it.

I'm now writing you from St. Moritz, Switzerland where I'll be back in a World Cup start gate after being absent for over two years due to injury. I'm now strong enough emotionally and physically to hit this slope!  From there, we'll see if I'm in a place to race. I will run the downhill training runs, then decide if I'll race on Saturday.

This whole week has come as a surprise and was organized very quickly (I was driving to the airport with my newly returned Russian visa approved passport, having my flights booked as I was en route!). It is true that I have had very little time on my Super G or downhill skis, however, I feel confident and will use this week to take that next step in my training.

I expected nerves to sneak in, but for now I'm happy to say I feel a true sense of normalcy. This is what I'm trained to do; this is what I'm meant to do. It was being on the operating table, in the rehab rooms, and endless months in the gym where I was uncomfortable. It's a good feeling to be normal again - and for me, that's in a World Cup DH start gate getting set to travel at over 120 km/h.

Ski racing never easy

Don't get me wrong, I don't expect this to be easy. Ski racing is never easy, but easy isn't what I signed up for. I do expect to go out there confidently, and strongly. I plan to attack the hill, but also to take a rounder 'calmer' line. I'm not looking to risk for a win. My hope is to come away from this week with more confidence and a strengthened passion for this sport. I also hope to see my knee react well to the added 'stress.'

This track is also my favourite. St. Moritz holds strong roots to my past with my first World Cup; first world championships; and family ties to my first coach Peter Bassin, all there.

For me, it's a second home on the circuit.

Athlete injury debrief: Survey up and running

As I start to come out the other side of injury, my passion for this sport hasn't waned. If anything, my commitment to making it safer has only strengthened so we can see more young Canadians have the opportunities I had.

n the spring of 2011, Kelly McBroom and I partnered with Dr. Meeuwisse (leading sport and safety researcher) and the University of Calgary to help us better understand the ahtlete's perspective on injury. This has been passed through the ethics board and reviewed by people with far more acronyms after their name that I thought possible.

This survey was made by athletes for athletes. We want to know what you went through so we can help make the sport of Alpine Skiing as safe as possible!

Many athletes filled out a survey last spring that will be very similar to this. We'd like to ask all of those athletes to fill it out again since there have been significant changes in how the data is being collected and analyzed.

If you fit the criteria for the survey, it will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. If you don't, then this will take less than one minute of your time.

Here are the links and please spread the word!!!! The more responses we get the safer we can see this sport become.

For FIS Athletes - Age15+ Please visit: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/AlpineAthleteInjuryDebrief

For K2 Athletes - Click below to see if you apply to take this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/K2AlpineAthleteInjuryDebrief

This survey is going International and will stretch over five years.  However, data will be analysed regularly and help us make real changes in how athletes are managed and developed.

I'm truly excited about this project and look forward to the impact it will have on this incredible sport of Alpine!

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