Injuries suck. It’s as simple as that. When you are refrained from doing what you love and then everything else. Stuck in bed, or worse, the hospital. And Instagram doesn’t make it any better. You click to mindlessly scroll, because well, there’s nothing better to do. Then you realize you made a huge mistake. All of your friends are still out there posting about their epic powder day or the perfect park conditions and have the tricks to back it up.
Then there’s the fact that when you are healthy again, you need to get yourself back out there. But breaking down that wall you just constructed in your “free time” against getting hurt again might be the biggest challenge. VNTRbirds’ contributor Erika Norcross and team rider Cat Nicol are both (unfortunately) very familiar with this so called “down time” and here’s how they find themselves getting the bad news, getting stronger and going back out to try it all again, but better.


Open jacket steez while easing herself back into the park.

Being a snowboard instructor, hearing the words “you should consider taking it easy” is something you never want to hear. A few years ago in the middle of college basketball I remember feeling a strange pain in my heel when I came down from a shot. One of those things where you just brush it off, hope it subsides. And it did, until the middle of December 2016 while free riding it was difficult to turn toe-side. I remember thinking that it would probably go away in a few runs, unfortunately it became more and more severe. I took myself to the hospital, got a foot specialist recommended to me and went to see him. “It seems you have an interesting bone growth on the heel in this x-ray, and you also have a partial achilles tear, along with achilles tendonitis”.

“..but now maybe I’ll consider taking a few breaks to allow myself to heal”

As a full-time snowboard instructor going for higher certifications, my heart sank. I knew I either had to stop snowboarding mid-season, or continue while being cautious. According to doctors and my physical therapist, hitting rails in my all female event or even going off 20 foot jumps isn’t exactly cautious. After many days of PT, icing, wearing a boot and stretching I noticed pain getting worse. I immediately follow up with my doctor who throws the “You need surgery to reconstruct your achilles” line at me. I’ve found it conflicting on whether I try to keep progressing my riding this season or laying low and doing office work.
It’s been difficult at times when I have to tell my supervisors I can’t teach because I’m in pain. Now when I walk into work I get asked two questions: how’s the foot, and how are you today- in that order. It’s a great feeling to have so many coworkers supporting you, but at the same time, concerned. I’ve always been the type of person to come to a crossroads and decide whether to continue to fight through an injury, or sit on the sideline. Watching my favorite sport from inside has never been an option in my mind, but now maybe I’ll consider taking a few breaks to allow myself to heal.


Exercise getting around that mental block keeping you from charging

I suppose being involved in a highly impact sport like this tends to have it’s up and downs when it comes to injuries. We all know that at some stage in the season or a number of seasons you may expect to have at least a couple. That’s just how you have to accept it when you get yourself involved in such a progressive sport and lifestyle career; it’s hard not to stop! Snowboarding is addicting and so is pushing yourself to learn more and go big with tricks. I’ve faced challenges over the spring period last year in Austria learning to over come my injuries and one being more serious than others as of my head injury. I’ve had to take a step back and tell myself not to push my progression any further as of the risk was too high. It comes down to knowing yourself and listening to your body at the same time. I would always tend to ignore injuries and just get on with it but lesson learned. That’s where injuries happen. It’s that pressure in our mind that we have to control and it comes down to risk vs. reward.

It comes down to knowing yourself and listening to your body at the same time. I would always tend to ignore injuries and just get on with it but lesson learned.

spinning the smaller jumps helps build up the confidence again

I’m currently back out in Austria for the season working as a Park Designer and unfortunately I had an early shoulder injury and wasn’t fit to work for 6 weeks. I went back home and recovered for that period of time. I was going through waves of emotions trying to think positively and not negatively and telling myself that it’s only for a short amount of time and not longer. You’re body needs that time to properly heal itself as it’s for the best and you would not regret it!

Now you can get the confidence to be out there, listen to your body, but don’t forget to get back to charging!