I competed in my first Dew Tour in 2009, placing third and haven’t missed one since then until this year. I decided not to compete in this year’s Dew Tour event at Breckenridge because my knee did not feel quite ready to hit one of the biggest slopestyle courses around after going through ACL surgery in March. This was a tough decision for me because I love competing and being out there with my friends and supporting one another. Because of my decision not to ski, I was forced to sit on the sidelines and figure out other ways to prepare myself for the season ahead.

Anyone who has been injured or missed a contest or race because of injury can tell you that it is painful to watch your sport progressing before your eyes. That was how I felt all week watching the girls hit the course over and over—doing new tricks that have rarely been seen in a contest setting. My mind was in panic mode. I wanted to be out there more than anything—being pushed out of my comfort zone into a state of adrenaline. I miss the adrenaline rush I get from learning a new trick or being scared of a new course… nothing can replicate it. After watching the girls train for three days, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was going to have to change my mindset or stop coming to the venues, which I didn’t want to do. I had to figure out how I was going to change my state of jealousy into a motivator.

Watching the women’s slopestyle competition, I was able to mentally put myself into their shoes and make the same decisions they had to make in my own head. I wanted to feel the same emotions I do when I compete, helping to train myself for when I am standing at the top of the course about to drop in. Variable weather conditions put the girls in a tough spot. They were all being challenged physically and mentally, whereas I was only tackling the mental part of it. I was very impressed to see everyone adjust their runs to suit the conditions. Sometimes overcoming your own thoughts can be the most challenging part of a sport.

I was very impressed and motivated watching numerous fellow athletes who were coming off of knee surgery and competing for the first time at Dew Tour. Most of them looked like they hadn’t missed a beat. It proves to all of us that are still healing that it is 100-percent possible to get back to the same level you were before the injury. After all, everyone loves a good comeback story.