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Hi everyone! My name is Storm Klomhaus and I am a US alpine skier. I am excited to talk a little bit today about injury, its inevitable existence in ski racing, and how it has made me better.


A little bit about me and my experiences with injury - I just underwent my 3rd knee surgery since October, which was my 3rd ACL reconstruction and my 8th knee surgery in total. 4 years ago while I was skiing NCAA for the University of Denver, I blew out my knee for the first time. It was not dramatic at all, I didn’t crash or catch anything. I was just about to finish a race and felt pain, then slowly stopped.

I got my first ACL reconstruction a few weeks later. A few months later, a MRSA infection was found in the surgical joint and my first ACL reconstruction failed. This led to multiple surgeries to scrape the infection out and remove the ACL graft. I had a PICC line and daily antibiotic injections for 6 weeks to fully eliminate the infection before getting my 2nd ACL reconstruction. I made a full recovery and returned to skiing better than ever.


Fast forward 4 years, while training for the first World Cup of the year in Solden, Austria, I blew out my knee. Again, nothing dramatic happened - I hit some weird snow, felt pain, and tipped over. I feel lucky none of my injuries or crashes have been traumatic. Unfortunately, due to my previous reconstructions and infection, this injury requires a 13-month recovery and 3 surgeries. Some of the circumstances related to my injuries have been unlucky due to the infection, but luckily it hasn’t affected me or my career in the bigger picture. Today, my 3 surgeries are behind me, and have 7 months left until I get back on snow!



I just made the US Ski Team last April, so I was only on the team half a year before my season ended. Although it was a tough way to start out on a new team, I keep reminding myself that this could have happened before I ever made the US Team. If I wasn’t on the national team or a colligate team, I would be on my own returning to sport. Lots of athletes do this, but the road to recovery seems a lot longer and more daunting alone. I think just knowing I’d have support coming back is a big reason I wasn’t totally crushed by this injury. Either way, I know I can come back better than ever again, and I think that’s true for anyone with season-ending circumstances.

Injuries happen in ski racing. Every person I know at my level or higher has had some sort of forced time off snow due to injury. I don’t feel bad for myself, and every time I have gotten hurt has humbled me and made me a better athlete and person. I think this can be true for everyone who doesn’t let it become a negative thing. For me, injury has only strengthened my love and drive for the sport. It is easy to take advantage of what we get to do and the places we get to travel to, and all of this has made me appreciate every moment of it. It had also made me value my whole support crew that much more, including my friends, teammates, and coaches who have been there through every surgery this year.

WCDF and T2 have supported my career through all my injuries and different teams over the past 9 years. Without them, there is a good chance I wouldn’t have been able to continue ski racing due to its financial realities a long time ago, which is way scarier to me than any possibility of injury. The support from WCDF and T2 has helped me get back on snow every time and keeps my dream going, which is invaluable and appreciated more than I could ever say. I just hope to give back and pay it forward in my ski racing career.

Thank you all for reading! I am going to hit my rehab hard and will be back and better before you know it. :) A quick closing note - I am fundraising to help fund my unexpected medical bills from the previous surgeries this year if interested click the link below!


https://donorbox.org/storm-klomhaus

-Storm






Updated: Mar 25

Follow along as Paula Moltzan shares with us her first Olympic experience. Paula was one of several WCDF athletes representing the USA in the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.


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With uncertainty and trepidation, we took our last covid test before arriving at our hotel in Zurich. There we had 36 hours to organize and get all the supplies we needed for the 3 weeks in China. With the “closed-loop” system during the games, there was no chance to leave the “bubble” which consisted of the Olympic village and the two staff hotels 30 minutes down the road. As we crossed the last tasks off the list and then received our QR health codes to enter China, which verified we had all our negative covid tests it was time to head to the airport.



The mountain of ski bags with skis models for all the possible snow conditions headed off with the staff and the athletes went to the airport. What we thought may be a tricky and unordinary check-in process couldn’t have been any easier and that’s when we realized the travel wouldn’t be so bad. The travel on Swiss air to Beijing was easy, upon arrival in the empty airport we went through security and took a covid test. The largest airport in the world, desolate besides the hundreds of workers in full hazmat suits was a spectacle. We gathered our bags as quickly as possible and headed on a slow bus ride to the Olympic village.



Confused with jetlag and staring out the windows at the empty 6 lane highways we eventually made our way into the mountains and arrived at the village. Moving into our rooms was a bit hectic, but a fun process to receive our bags containing the Olympic uniforms. Olympic village accommodations are nothing glorious, quite like a freshman dorm room at college. Tight confines to say the least with your roommates and a crazy amount of gear! We got used to it though.



Technology in the village was talked about a lot leading up to the games by the USOPC as well as the media, citing burner phones, computers, etc. I brought an old phone that had been completely wiped before leaving to ensure no sensitive data could be taken and used the wifi that was throughout the village, connecting while my VPN was on. The wifi coverage was decent and even was up on the ski hill near the finishes of the race venues. I didn’t open my computer the whole time I was there but used my iPad to watch shows and write emails. We were able to facetime with friends and family without issue to give them a sense of what it was like there which was fun.


Life in the village was much smoother than most of us anticipated leading up to the games, wearing kn-95 masks everywhere was required, along with a daily covid test, but the staff couldn’t have been more friendly. Every worker you saw smiled, waved, and said hello to you. If you had a question they would find someone who could help right away. Almost everyone wanted to trade pins, the workers had a variety of Chinese pins and then all the other athletes wanted to trade as well. I came away with quite the collection of pins from different countries. Something that will be a cool memory down the road.


The dining hall felt like college, with the addition of dividers between every seat, think of a voting booth. This was a bit strange, but we got used to it. They had a lot of different foods, from the Asian section with dumplings, fried rice, and noodles, to a salad bar with fresh vegetables and a section with pasta. The best was the fresh fruit they had; did you know China is the leading exporter of Cantaloupe? I didn’t either, but one thing I can confirm is how sweet and flavorful it is when it's fresh! The food became monotonous, but once again it was better than we had anticipated it being.


Now for the important bit that we went there for, SKIING!! It was wild seeing mountains with no snow in such cold weather. During the 20 days that we were there, it only went above freezing a few times. It was normal for the temperature to vary between -15 and -25 Celsius in the mornings up on the mountain. Freezing cold dry air and then you hoped there would be no wind. The wind was brutally cold some days, but Spyder helped the athletes out tremendously making some custom heated shorts for training. Hand warmers inside of the speed suits were common to try and get a little more warmth!



After riding a very long gondola, from the village, you arrived at the finish of the speed track. From there we took another gondola before getting on a chairlift to the tech venue. The hills were all really well prepared and most were fully in the sunshine so there was great visibility and sometimes the sun provided some nice warmth! The snow was like the western United States very dry, but with the water that they added to the hill, it was hard and compact. The conditions turned out to be challenging for some brands of equipment, but I was happy that I had a great setup from Rossignol that worked.


In the GS, my first Olympic race, there were certainly a lot of nerves but I was happy with my skiing in both runs. Some mistakes and some very fast sections led me to a 12th place finish. In slalom my plan was to attack as best I could and take advantage of the rhythmical course set first run. I was very happy with my first run and gave it all I had second run as well, a couple of small mistakes in key sections set me back time-wise and I ended up in 8th place. After a long break in the action (9 days waiting) we were racing in the team event. The first day we waited around in the freezing cold and extreme wind to see the race be canceled. The next day brought less wind so the race went on. I was proud of what we did as a team to end up in 4th place. Of course, that hurts a little bit but I’m confident moving forward that we will have a very strong team for parallel!



Many people at the Olympics focus on the “could haves” or the “what ifs”. Sure, I could have potentially moved onto the podium in Slalom if I didn’t make the mistakes, but I didn’t get hung up on that. I gave it all I had in every race so I walked away smiling. My Olympic experience was as amazing as I imagined it would be since the day I began dreaming of it when I was 3 years old. Making so many new friends from other countries was incredible and to race at an event with the whole world watching was something special. What many thought would be a tough and uncomfortable trip turned out to be an incredible experience. The workers in China that helped put on the games could not have been nicer- they did a great job navigating the craziness of covid. I would have loved to see and walk on The Great Wall, I guess that’s how they may get me to go back...




World Cup Dreams is thrilled to announce the 16 recipients of our November Grant. After receiving more than 150 applications from all over the country and reading so many deserving and well thought out essays, the following athletes will be receiving a $1,500 grant to help pay for season expenses and competition.


World Cup Dreams is proud to be supporting athletes all long the spectrum of development from young juniors trying to travel to races and competitions at areas farther from home, to World Cup skiers gunning for their first top-10 finish.


Visit the What We Do section of our website to find out more about WCD. We are proud to be funding the future of snow sports.


 

Cailin Apple Breck - Burke Mountain Academy - Alpine
Rex Arnot - Missoula Freestyle Team - Freestyle (moguls)
Bella Bacon - Park City/U.S. Freeski Team - Freeski (slopestyle/big air)
Fynn Bullock - One Team/Orlando, FL - Snowboard
Garret Butts - APU Nordic Ski Center - Cross-country
Avery Costello - Snowbasin Ski Team - Alpine
Neve Gerard - Bend, OR - Cross Country
Audrey Higgins Lopez - Rowmark - Alpine
Carson Hume - SSCV - Alpine
Svea Irving - Winter Park - Freeski
Madison Maclaren - Sugar Hill, NH - Alpine
Atticus Sanders - Jackson Hole Ski Club - Alpine
Gunnar Travis - Park City Ski Team - Alpine
Cole Vanetten - Northwood School - Alpine
Kalle Wagner - Dartmouth Ski Team - Alpine
Zach Wargo - Northwood School - Alpine