|JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. (Jan. 10) - Olympian Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, WY), off to the best start of her young career, is recuperating at home following a racing crash in Austria that ended her season. "I haven't gotten bored yet, but I'm looking forward to getting back on skis," she said.|
Stiegler, 22, had tied her top performance with a pair of fourth-place results this season plus two other top-10s. She crashed Dec. 28 during a World Cup giant slalom in Lienz, Austria, sliding off the course and under safety netting before stopping against a small tree outside the fencing. She suffered a fractured left arm, ligament damage to her right knee and multiple bruises in the crash, she said.
After being treated at a local hospital, she flew home and received further treatment at Steadman-Hawkins Clinic and Vail Valley Medical Center in Colorado.
"I'm good, I'm really good. I'm crutching it to get around, but I'm staying off my leg as much as possible. I'll be on crutches for six weeks, but the doctors [Dr. William I. Sterett and Dr. Randy W. Viola] said the injuries came out a lot better than expected. That's really good because it makes room for me to heal faster," Stiegler said.
One of the hardest parts of her recovery was adjusting to the notion of not racing any more this season. "You have to understand you're not skiing this season. That's hard to let go of. As an athlete, you're a fighter. You want to get back into it," she said. "I have to relax and take things easy now, though."
She's seen the video of her crash. "I looked so lame, so pathetic," she joked. "I didn't get hurt falling over. We've all hit fences, so I wasn't too worried. I remember thinking 'I hope my tailbone's okay, hope my knees are okay' - and then, all of a sudden, I was through the fencing and into the trees."
She expects to be back on skis in midsummer. "I want to get back but I know I'll have to take my time, and I'll have tons of time. My friends are helping, which is so good, and I haven't gotten bored yet, but I'm looking forward to getting back on skis. And if I had to miss a year, this one - with no World Championships or Olympics - probably was a good one to lose," Stiegler said. "I know I have to, but I can't wait to get back on skis."
U.S. alpine Director Jesse Hunt said, "There's no question that we're missing Resi and we want her back as soon as possible. She brings so much more than just great skiing and outstanding results. Her enthusiasm and her excitement are definitely missed and we want her to get healed and be healthy when she returns because Resi will be stronger than ever."
photos Janos Schmidt