Words by Bridie Rawson
A piece written for all the injured friends who've taken one for the team, fulfilling the seasons quota of breaks, strains, sprains and ligaments torn.
I’m sitting in my van, parked in the Woolies car park in the country town of Cooma, a 50 minute drive from Jindabyne. My left knee is aching due to my recently sustained MCL injury and my right knee (which I broke in 2019) is throbbing from weight bearing the past 48 hours. Injuries suck. There’s no denying it. When you’re doing snow seasons they’re unavoidable. If you’re one of the few that year in, year out have escaped the dreaded skiing or snowboarding injury then hats off to you! The 2022 season came in hot, with bucket loads of snow and early opening dates. Resorts across Australia were opening up more terrain earlier than we’d seen in years. Everyone was going hard. People were throwing tricks they wouldn’t attempt until months into the season right from the get go, ripping around the resorts with speed and energy that was contagious. We were all in a state of ecstasy. The partying was full throttle. The work hours long and intense. The riding was epic.
Opening week Perisher 2022 Suddenly the injuries started and everyone was dropping like flies. This season I’ve already seen numerous strains, sprains, ligament damages, broken bones, people sustaining ‘season ender’ injuries.
The instagram messages of doom 2022
Now having taken one for the team, I’ve finally slowed down enough to reflect on what’s happening around us.
Since starting my snow seasons in 2014, I’ve been around the block plenty of times myself. In 2014 separating my AC (shoulder) joint, 2019 breaking my tibial plateau (knee), 2020 breaking my nose and now 2022 having already copped a black eye and stretched my left knee into a grade two MCL.
Breaking my nose 2020 // Slicing my face open on my skis 2020 // Black eye 2022
All my injuries have been good ones.
Paddy skiing me down Wombats Ramble, Falls Creek with a broken knee 2019
Short recovery times, no surgery, minimal rehab. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t felt the mental strain that comes along with an injury. I’m no mental health expert and nor do I claim to be one. Reflecting on my own mental health through these injuries I know how tough it can be. Once the pains subsided you might laugh it off for a bit. But a week later you’re stuck at home watching social media post after social media post of your mates out there having a good time. It can hit like a tone of bricks. You’re missing that. You’ve gone from 100 to 0. You’ve been working like a dog, partying like an animal, riding like there’s no tomorrow and suddenly you’re stuck in a rut. No riding. No working. Maybe you can get on the piss but how’s that going to help your mental health? I’ll tell ya what. It doesn’t. In 2019 when I broke my knee, I’d lost a friend from home in a freak accident a week prior, it was the end of the season and I found myself back at my parents (where I had 0 plans to return to), I’d lost all independence with the need for (and a full hatred of) crutches, I wasn’t around my snow homies and I wasn’t doing the sport I loved.
It wasn't a good time in my life.
The mental state I was in was the lowest it had ever been.
It’s hard to face the stark truth that a friend pointed out to me years later. To quote Maddie Jones as we sat around her kitchen bench drinking tea and eating hobnobs
“Don’t make skiing your whole world”
I’d blissfully made the mistake of making the snow world my everything. And it hurt when that was ripped away from me. Now as my knees ache sitting here typing this out on my phone, I’m so lucky to have that knowledge. It’s easy to forget all your hobbies that get abandoned as soon as the snow starts falling. Maybe in the off season you paint, crochet, play guitar, love to read. Keep those passions going. Keep your mind busy and entertained. There’s more to life than going down mountains on planks. By no means do I mean to dismiss anyones feelings of sadness or pain that come with their injuries. That’s all a part of the journey. If you’re struggling with mental health reach out to those around you. It can feel lonely and isolating missing out and watching the world go on without you. If your mates hurt themselves, keep an eye on them. Go visit, sit and chat, sit and watch a movie if that’s all they’re up for. In the snow you make families from the weird and whacky people around you quick, and it’s our job to support those who might not be at their best.
Family 2022 Although I found myself at a low in 2019, things did get better. My knee healed. I shoved my crutches in the back of mum and dads shed with a vengeance, swearing never to use them again. Another season came.
Hitting the jump line in Iwatake 2020 after recovering from my broken knee
Although everyone’s recovery times differ immensely depending on their injuries, always keep in mind there are more seasons ahead. More mountains to be ridden. More people to meet, experiences to have and funnily enough, there is more to life than skiing.
If you or someone you know are in need of mental health support please see the following links:
Talk to a trained mental health professional any time of the day or night. Calls are confidential. They will listen, provide information and advice and point you in the right direction to seek further support.
1300 22 4636 Open 24/7
Beyond Blue chat online Open 1pm to midnight, 7 days a week
24-hour crisis support telephone service. Lifeline provides 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services.
Lifeline 131 114
A telephone counselling support line for children and young people ages 5 to 25 and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
NSW Mental Health Line
A mental health professional will answer your call about mental health concerns for you or someone you are concerned about, including children, teens, adults and older people.
Suicide Call Back Service
National services that provides free 24/7 phone, video and online professional counselling to people who are affected by suicide.
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467