The start of winter tends to be a busy season for me, chock-full of little obligations. A day here, a day there, the occasional quick visit home, where hopefully the weather patterns bless me with early season precipitation (preferably 32 degrees or less). Then, suddenly, contest season creeps up and I find myself jumping into a halfpipe, putting the contest bib on, and charging into the first few weeks of the North American season. This season started off different than most. Over Thanksgiving, I was chopping wood for a fire. I was making a bunch of kindling, too quickly and carelessly, and ended up severing three tendons on my right hand. The injury was clearly less than ideal and it was tough to hang on to optimism. Long story short, two days after nearly chopping off a few digits, I was in surgery getting my tendons sewn together, and looking at a full 12-week recovery, for my hand. I started stressing, thinking about how much I might miss. I couldn’t grab with my right hand and couldn’t snowmobile until February to seek out winter’s perfect backdrops... The list goes on and on. I started to stress, as the “pre-season” is a good one to simply have fun and remember why I love these things I do. It’s a chance to take it a little bit more relaxed, before I’m mental with training for Olympic qualifying. But the more I thought about how I would adapt my season, the more excited I became. My season opened up and the snow was looking good. I am never around early season to do much splitboarding or resort riding with my friends. I am always bouncing around from event to event. I realized this injury was starting to open doors rather than closing them. I had the chance to Experience More. I had 12 weeks of freedom to get in night riding with my friends, splitboarding with my dogs, and quality time at home that didn’t have me juggling bags or my next flight. Injuries and mountain safety are a real struggle for all who venture into the outdoors. Granted, I get hurt more frequently than most, but I’ve come to realize it’s part of the game, and like any mountain that stares you down, you can stay put and embrace the adversity or start the climb. Dealing with injuries in the most optimistic way possible is not only going to help recovery and healing, but it’s going to keep a smile on your face through the process. Whether you’re preparing for contest season or just hitting your local slopes, don’t let intensity keep you from remembering the pure enjoyment of time outside. Remember, “There are no good or bad challenges in a warrior’s path, just challenges.” So, here’s to the experience.