AST Athlete Journal: Zuzana Rybarik

Hey Everyone! My name is Zuzana Rybarik and this was supposed to be my first year on the Alberta Team. As many of you know, much of life doesn’t go as planned. You don’t plan on getting back surgery and missing your first two years of FIS or skiing a day of a one-month camp, but that is just how life goes.

I tore my ACL and lateral meniscus on the 2nd day in Italy. I had so much fun skiing the first day. The feeling was just indescribable. I just wish I did one more run. But I guess I can’t make wishes or look at the what if’s because you can’t change what’s already happened. Injuries come with a lot of heartbreak but also with many lessons.  As much as this season pained me, I’m happy with everything I’ve gained from this experience. I bet you didn’t know how hard it is to walk up the stairs with crutches and a glass of water, or even how to walk after not doing it for a month and half. It’s heel to toe, by the way. However, the most important lesson an injury shows you is how much you truly love a sport. You take granted what you have because you think it will always be within your reach, until one day it is gone. You only feel the exhilaration from videos you see or the memories you have. I think about the 4 starts I had my whole FIS career and ache for just one more. I think about the feeling I got after a GS run or an XL jump in the park. It truly is the best and unforgettable feeling in the world. I could ski for hours and not get tired. I love it. After back surgery, I could do 20 runs and still ask to do more. There was never an “enough” amount of runs.

Sure, there’s days where you wake up and don’t want to ski because it’s snowing or it’s freezing. But when you’re injured you wish you had to wake up to the snowy mornings or freezing days. You wish you were at the hill putting your boots on instead of tying your running shoes to go to the gym. There are many little things you miss when you’re injured. I simply just miss running or playing spike ball whenever I want to or juggling a soccer ball with the kids I coach. Injuries teach you to cherish the little things in life and to never take anything for granted. Especially being able to straighten your leg fully, I’m still working on that one.

I will forever be thankful for everything my injuries have taught me and I’m just aching to be back doing everything I love to do. I want to thank the Alberta Team, especially the Women’s team for the amazing summer of training and to congratulate them on their great season. I also want to give a huge shoutout to our coaches; Gavin and Jim, My physio and our trainer; Izzy and Nate, who have been helping and making me stronger every day. I also want to thank everyone for their endless amount of support throughout the year! Thank you; Josh, Sanne, Alied, my parents, friends, and all of Alberta Alpine. I would also like to thank our sponsors Sporting Life, GMC Raymond James, Karbon, and biosteel.