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Monday, April 7, 2014

Dream big and dare to fail. The 2013-14 Season in a wrap!

 "Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow. "  - Helen Keller

A lot has happened this season. With so many contests at the beginning of the season, trying to qualify for the Olympics and stay healthy, this season took me on a different path than I had anticipated. The first few contests went pretty well, Dew Tour and the Grand Prixs in Colorado put me into a position where I really needed to excel at the last two qualifying events to land myself a spot on the US snowboard team to qualify for the Olympics. After a pretty decent showing at the Copper Grand Prix considering we all battled some pretty serious weather in qualifiers I was very focused to do well at the Northstar Grand Prix. Unfortunately, California has had an unusually bad snow year and they had to move the contest back to Breckenridge, which was great news since thats where I now call home.

The course was all time, Breckenridge did an outstanding job at creating and maintaining a great course for us to have the contest on. The jumps were perfect, the rails creative and fun, and I had a wonderful day of practice the day before qualifiers. The following morning was perfect. My warmup went well, and I felt very ready for the contest. For some reason, before taking my first run I decided to try a more difficult run first instead of putting one run down for safety. The wind had picked up slightly, but it still looked great from up top, and I wasn't worried about speed at all. The top section went smooth and I setup for a switch trick on the first jump. I lost a bit of speed on the landing but still thought I could make the second jump if I just did a straight air and popped really hard. Wrong.

I came up about a full board length short on the jump and landed hard with my weight back over my back leg. My knee caved in, I felt a pop, and then found myself writhing in pain at the bottom of the landing of the jump. I knew deep down in my gut that I had probably just torn my ACL, but still tried to stand up to walk off the course. At that point my knee completely gave out and I hit the ground, hard. The Breckenridge Ski Patrol was extremely helpful and quick on the scene and they got me down to the bottom to have my knee looked at immediately after checking for head and neck injuries.
I was happy to have my boyfriend there with me, who was on the side of the course taking photos and saw the whole thing. We ended up spending the rest of our day at the hospital getting X-rays and trying to determine whether or not I had a tibial plateau fracture. Fortunately, I didn't and when Dr. Joseph at Vail Summit Orthopedics looked at my knee and the MRI we determined that I had in fact completely torn my ACL and Lateral meniscus as well as a partial tear in my medial meniscus and I would need knee surgery.

On January 17th I had ACL surgery, I am very fortunate that it was only my knee and that I live in a place where some of the best knee surgeons in the country also reside and practice. The surgery went smoothly, although, the first week of laying in bed after surgery was the most pain i've ever endured.
Physical therapy and rehabilitation of the knee after a surgery like this is crucial. I never even knew how crucial until I have had to put in the hours of work at the gym and home to get my knee back to where I want it to be. The physical portion of this is incredibly hard, but what's harder than that is keeping your mind in a positive state when you are so limited in activity. It's easy to get down when you can't do what you love to do and are passionate about, however, in the grand scheme of life this is such short period of time and there are so many lessons to be learned.

The thing i'm constantly reminded of is not to take things for granted. Mostly in the sense of being able to walk normally, bend or straighten my knee without pain, and do my daily activities that I have done for so many years without even the notion of it ever being taken away, even if only for a few months. I am almost 3 months out of surgery now and feeling better and better each day. Rebuilding a knee is a weird concept, when you think it took me 23 years to develop my leg to the athletic point it was at and to watch it deteriorate and atrophy in just a couple weeks. It's unbelievable what the body is capable of and to see it really kick into gear and repair itself is truly amazing. I am hoping to go snowboarding again in July when I am at my 6 month mark, and will be back with a vengeance this coming season!

I have been so grateful to have so many people in my life that have made this process so much easier for me including my family, friends, my wonderful sponsors who have stood by me and my boyfriend who has been there every step of the way. A big thanks once again to my contributors towards my Sochi goal, and get ready for some extra fuel in the tank for the Road to South Korea and the rest of my snowboard career!

Gatorade, Burton, Smith Optics, Phunkshun Wear, Discrete Headwear, Epic Pro Team, Saga Outerwear, Lyke Watches, Fydelity Stereobags, Shred Betties, Snogression, Hit Play Yoga, La Isla Brand.

A Beautiful Day from 4ReeL on Vimeo.

SIA Snowshow 2014

Origin Magazine

Make a Wish Foundation Celebrity Waiter Sporting Affair 2014

Monday, November 25, 2013

2 for 1 Saturday. Love Games and Back to the grind Rail Jam

On Saturday November 16th, there were not one, but two events that were just too good to pass up. After a late Friday night, I woke early on Saturday morning to pickup a good friend and photographer Ryan Bregante who just drove to town from Utah. We arrived at Loveland pass around 9am and watched and waited as more and more people came out to share the love of snowboarding on some incredible natural features that separate teams had come up and built days prior to the event.
The event kicked off around 10am and the energy level was high. People wasted no time dropping their heaviest tricks on a variety of features including log jibs, pole jams, a man made jump, and even a staircase with a wooden railing to jump on. Things were hectic. People were dropping from all over, spraying snow, drinking beer, and having an all around great time. This is the type of event that snowboarding was made for. I was pleased to have put down a few solid tricks on each feature and be the first girl to hit the wooden staircase feature. It was pretty intense to say the least, but having grown up in Montana (where there were no terrain parks) I felt right at home on these natural features. After two 45 minute jam sessions, I was happy with my performance and really grateful to be named to top woman at the event.

Photo: Ryan Bregante

Love Games 2013 from Keegan Schultz on href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo.

After a quick award ceremony in the parking lot, it was back in the car and over to Keystone for their annual Back to the Grind Rail Jam event. Since moving to Colorado Keystone has felt like my home and I am always happy to attend events there. We showed up around 3pm, just in time to get a coffee and put my boots back on to qualify for finals. I put down a few tricks and made the final cut, and was pretty impressed with my performance considering my lack of sleep the night before and hiking at the Love Games all day. I had a couple hours between qualifiers and finals, so I did everything I could to stay warm and awake. The snow started to fall very heavily by the time finals came around but it was time to put the game face back on and finish this day on a strong note. I stomped a few different tricks and was pretty pleased, but decided to go for a crowd pleasing gap to the down rail on the Y rail feature.  In the end I walked away with first. I am very happy and grateful to have started my season on such a positive note and I think I had the most fun of anyone that whole day :) Big thanks to everyone who put all that hard work in to the Love Games and Keystone/Keystone A51 for their spectacular rail setup as always.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

First snow! Guardsmans Pass...

With the first snowfalls in Utah I was more than ready to strap into my snowboard again. Lucky for us there is a zone up Guardsmans Pass that has some rails and other features setup. I got out a couple days with a great group of girls to shred with! Here are a couple photos and a little video from our sessions..

#SummitTeam... Bald Mountain

I've mentioned before numerous times in posts how amazing Utah is, and how incredibly blessed we are to be surrounded with so much beauty. With all of the National Parks being closed down due to the government shutdown (UT having just been re-opened as of 10/11/13 thanks to state funding along with a couple of other places see; http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/10/12/232691491/grand-canyon-and-other-national-parks-reopen-on-states-dime for more information on that.) It makes getting out there and enjoying these special places that much more important.
Although the Uintas were not affected by the shutdown it makes me wonder what other points our government may have to "prove" by the shutdown of National Parks across the US. As someone who enjoys the outdoors and makes a living by doing so, I am concerned about the direction we are headed and encourage everyone to go outside and enjoy it while we still can.

Despite the new snowfall on Thursday night we still decided to head out to the Uintas on Friday morning, the drive up looked inviting enough, but when we arrive at the trailhead for Bald Mountain, we were faced with ankle deep snow for most of the route. Since it was such a beautiful day, neither max nor I thought to bring snow boots, just our regular hiking shoes which usually suffice. Because of the new snowfall we were unsure of where the trail actually started, probably due to the fact that we were the only ones with the idea that day to summit Bald Mountain. We started walking on what appeared to be the "right" way and quickly picked up the trail and were off to start the switchbacks up the mountain.
Patches of gray skies, sunshine, and harsh wind from the exposure up there gave us a feeling again of how quickly the weather can change at altitude, and that you always respect the mountain. We reached the summit about an hour of slowly meandering up the slope, carefully placing our feet, and taking photos every 10 steps.
The view from the top was breathtaking, vast valleys leading to the foothills of other mountains in the Uintas, a very up close and personal view of Reid's Peak, and the colors of the fall leaves popping through the white snow in bursts of yellow, orange, and red. Needless to say, it was worth it.


Keystone A51 Backyard BBQ Rail Jam 2013

September 7th Marked the 2nd annual Backyard BBQ rail Jam at Keystone Resort with an awesome setup built by the Keystone A51 terrain park crew. I can honestly say every single person there had so much energy to snowboard, the anticipation was high all around and everyone was ready to ride. The event kicked off around noon with the ladies taking the spotlight first! This is pretty rare in itself so we were thrilled to get to hit the course first and show what we can do.

The amount of girls trying hard tricks first thing this season was pretty impressive, I was blown away at the courage these girls had. Fortunately for me, I have done a couple rail jams in my day and know what it takes to make finals and put on a good show. They chose the top 5 girls for finals which included some really great riders, and I was very happy to be chosen at one of the finalists. Two or so hours later after all the other riders were able to compete for their chance at finals, the finals took place and it was an intense session. Everyone was throwing their hardest tricks, people flying in from all directions, people on rails at the same time, on the wall ride, on the ground, literally everywhere you looked there was someone trying to show what they are made of, and it was quite the show! At the end of the 20 minute finals heat I was thrilled to have put down some pretty technical tricks, including front and back lips, 180s on and off, and some serious fun on the wall ride, landing me in first place.  Congratulations to everyone who participated and to KEYSTONE RESORT for hosting such an awesome event to get us all stoked for what is going to be a purely EPIC 2013/14 season.

Backyard BBQ Rail Jam at Keystone from Angry Snowboarder on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

FUNdraising for Sochi 2014

Thank you to everyone who has supported me thus far on my journey. I couldn't do this without you! Here's to Sochi!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

MOAB ADVENTURES- MT. Peale, Westwater, and Moonflower Canyon

Moab is one of the most incredible places in the world. The famous highway 128 that runs through Castle Valley is rated the 2nd most scenic drive in the world by National Geographic Magazine. With two days off from work, we did it again. An early morning, and a short 3 hour drive later we found ourselves in just outside of Moab in the La Sal Mountains. 
These peaks contain Mt. Peale which is the highest peak in Utah outside of the Uintas. We set out to summit Mt. Peale, and man was it worth it. The hike itself was a complete scramble up a few thousand feet, through uncharted talus fields, and non existent deer trails. When we reached the peak we were beyond stunned at the sheer magnitude and beauty of what we were looking upon in every direction. With Castle Valley and Moab in one direction, the San Juan Swell in another, and Arizona in another this one of the most epic peaks I have ever summited. 
The following day our friend from Park City as well as a couple of other PC friends took us down Westwater on the Colorado River. Jonny, being a guide for Canyon Voyages showed us one of the best times i've had on the river, and a very memorable day in Moab. Thanks friends what an awesome ride!

Talus Fields (the whole peak looked like this too)

Max and Jonny on their way up
This rock was totally water eroded and enormous.
Looking down the chute we climbed up

Still some water running off from the top

Friday, May 31, 2013

Adventures in Zion National Park

Utah is a very special place in the sense that within a 5 hour drive from Salt Lake City, you can go from some of the best skiing in the Wasatch Mountains, to some of the most sought after places in the world further south. With ski resorts like Park City, Canyons, Alta, Snowbird, and national parks such as Zion, Bryce Canyon, Kolob Canyon, and many others, Utah is truly a unique place that enables you to "get away," even if you only have a day or two to do so. 

Since I only had 2 days off of work, my boyfriend and I decided Tuesday morning that we would hop in the car and drive down to Zion National Park to hike Angels Landing the following day. Although the campsites in the park were occupied we found a really amazing spot to camp above a little canyon on some BLM land. Early the next morning we woke, antsy to get our hike going, and check out the rest of the park. The initial drive into the park was mind-blowing to say the least. With big sandstone walls lining the road, the Virgin river below, and the greenest trees you have ever seen, the canyon was truly one of the most breathtaking places I have ever been.  It was very Yosemite-esque, in that the sheer size of the rock walls you are looking at is quite stupendous, and you have to tilt your head back to see the tops of the walls. 

We arrived at the trailhead around 9am after a short bus ride up the canyon. From looking at pictures of the hike we knew we had to be aware, but didn't really know how aware we had to be until we were switchbacking up the sheer rock walls. We summited around 11am after hiking for 2 hours on some of the most intense hiking trails in the continental US. After taking WAY too many photos, we started up the West Rim Trail (An eleven mile round trip hike) just to take a peak before turning around to hike back down to the valley floor. Since the Angels Landing hike took much less time than expected, we had the opportunity to find our way to the Upper and Lower Emerald Pools at the base of one of the tallest rocks in the park. Having accomplished what we came there to do plus more we felt thrilled at our day, and were ready to hop on i15 for the straight shot back to Salt Lake. 4 and 1/2 hours later we were greeted by  one of the heaviest rainstorms I personally, have ever seen in Utah- guess we picked the right time to head South! 

Scenery along highway 89

Our campsite at the end of the rainbow overlooking the valley

Checkerboard Mesa

First glimpse of Zion Canyon

Pheasant on the run!

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