It’s been a long road to recovery after Laurenne Ross crashed in 2019 sustaining a broken tibial plateau. Her prescription was to rest and recover, but seven weeks after her crash, Ross still felt something was wrong with pain in her knee. At that point she found out she also tore her LCL, meniscus, and dislocated her tib-fib joint. It required major surgery and left her non weight bearing for three months.
“It took a lot longer than it should,” said Ross. “After surgery recovery went pretty well. I dealt with quite a bit of pain but nothing like the knee I damaged before.”
In 2017, when Ross came back from injury, she worked every day nonstop to make it back in time for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. By the time she got to the Olympics 10 months later, she was ready to take a break.
This time around Ross took a different approach. She took her recovery a lot slower and focused on her mental game to prepare herself for getting back on snow.
“By the time I was back on snow I was not really that scared,” said Ross. “I have a different perspective now. I know how to be smart, when to say ‘no,’ and how to use that fear to my advantage rather than hold me back.”
Earlier this spring, Ross and partner Tommy Ford spent their time together preparing for the upcoming season, which included cross-country skiing, ski touring, and a personal weight setup in their friend’s garage. Normally, Ross would be in her local gym in Bend, Ore., using the U.S. Ski Team trainer to facilitate her workout program. This year Ross practiced balancing her weight lifting programs with the summer activities she loves, such as rock climbing and biking.
Ross returned to snow with the U.S. Ski Team in June at Copper Mountain and again in July at Mount Hood. She still hadn’t skied in gates for over a year-and-a-half before traveling to Europe in early September.
Europe was a successful trip for Ross. She was granted great weather and snow conditions and camaraderie of being back with her team while training super G and downhill. While she occasionally feels some aches and pains, Ross is feeling ready to go into the season strong.
“I thought it would take a lot more time and be more difficult and scarier but it was not that bad,” said Ross. “Skiing came back really naturally, and I was working on finding speed and having a lot of fun.”
Ross is taking a conscious approach to training knowing that she can take four runs a day and be just as productive if she were to take eight. Her daily 30 minutes of morning meditation helps her focus on self-awareness and presence which directly relates to her skiing and getting over the fear of returning to the sport.
“You never really quote-unquote get over the mental block, but I think if you try to understand it not as a block but as a stepping stone it can really help you,” said Ross. “It can be really scary, everyone gets scared. But it makes you smarter and more aware.”
Ross is excited to go into the season and is looking forward to the World Championships in Cortina later this year. As far as her personal goals going into the season, Ross avoids setting objective goals or focusing on results. Instead, her focus for the season revolves around presence, trust, and having fun.
Ross and her team are expedited to return to the Speed Center at Copper before flying to Europe on November 27.
Ross also recently launched a campaign to help provide a service technician for the 2020-21 season.