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Injury

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Two weeks ago, I was busy shooting some freeride images with awesome Norwegian skier Bård Øymar, out in Courmayeur. The day was perfect: blue skies, tons of fresh snow, mostly untracked, and Bård knew exactly where to go to get the best snow and the best light. I got so many good images and great powder turns that I remember thinking I would have to pay for it later…

On our last run of the day, Bård’s fluff triggered a small slab in a couloir, which I failed to notice at first. I was caught by it and ended up riding it down for 15-20m until I came to a natural stop (just before I could trigger my ABS backpack). Unfortunately, because it was moving relatively slow and it caught me while I was stopped, my binding did not release, and I suffered a left knee injury. I tried to ski out, but a single turn nearly resulted in a dislocated knee and convinced me that rescue was the only reasonable option. 45 minutes later, I was winched off by the Courmayeur rescue helicopter, and flown to the Aosta hospital.

Since then, I’ve had a MRI to confirm the initial diagnostic, and consulted with orthopaedic surgeon, with the conclusion that my left ACL has been cleanly severed and that surgery will be required. Thankfully, there is very little pain and I can walk almost normally, I just don’t have any lateral stability.

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My ambitious plans for the spring and summer have obviously been greatly affected. The good news, though, is that I’ll still manage to go to Greenland in late April as initially planned, using a special splint as a substitute for my injured ACL. And as soon as I come back from the expedition, around May 15th, I’ll be having surgery. Rehab is forecast to take about 6 months, which means I probably won’t be able to climb at all during the summer season.

This is obviously a very big bummer, as there were so many things I wanted to do this spring and summer, but injury is a common occurrence for people who spend a lot of time in the mountains, and I am trying to take it in stride. It also means I get a chance to focus on other projects I wouldn’t otherwise spend so much time on (or instance promoting my next book on workflow, which is coming out later this month ;-D).

Winter 2014/2015 better be damn good!

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10 thoughts on “Injury

  1. Imprev says:

    You will exit stronger than before with the reeducation. Just find a good physiotherapist and spend time doing exercises. 3 month after operation you will start to run, 4 months you will start climbing and 6 month if you’re strong enough you’re back on the skis (I’ve been operated the 1st of may 2013 and the 10th of november I was enjoying the fresh powder in ski touring.)

    Bon courage and enjoy this period to do somethings else.

  2. Paul Beiser says:

    So sorry to hear, hope you are back in action soon, you feel good, and you show us more of your incredible work!

  3. Dang man, sorry to hear! If it helps reassure you I tore my MCL and meniscus and after surgery I’m still climbing. Good luck with rehab. Maybe you could write another book while your out of action ;-).

  4. Florin says:

    Very sorry to hear about it, I wish you successfull surgery and speedy recovery!
    Best wishes from Romania, Alexandre!

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