thrilling frightening enlightening

It has been one week. One week since I came careening down snow at 75 miles per hour, a bit out of control yet completely in my element—calm, crazy, and contented. Now I’m sitting at my dining room table at home; wondering if my black eyes will be better tomorrow so I can go out in public, hoping my face will stop oozing and bleeding so that I can start sleeping on my stomach and sides again, expecting the ghost riding on my shoulders to quit pinching me in the forehead. But I am lucky…so very lucky. I have not a single bruise on the whole of my body, aside from my face. My injuries could have, and probably should have, ended up being a whole lot worse. There was something out there helping me, although I’m not sure what…and for that I am mighty grateful.

But it is so easy to turn around and see things from the other viewpoint; to feel unlucky and accident prone, to feel like the crashes happen to me, to accept that I will usually be the one in the fence, the one in the sled, the one in the hospital…because it has happened so many times before. I was not skiing recklessly—I didn’t even fall before I ran straight into the fence. I simply hit a bump in the middle of a turn, as racers often do, and was regaining my composure as I looked up to see a b-net fence 20 feet in front of me. And when you’re going 75 mph on 215 Downhill skis, avoiding any sort of obstacle that is 20 feet in front of you is practically impossible—especially when it is a long, lifeless fence.  So I accepted the fence helplessly, and barely had the time to think, “it’s just a fence…it will cradle my fall. I am not even crashing!” Ha! Cradle! At 75 mph! That was a silly, naïve thought. The most dangerous way to crash is to go from a very high speed to a complete stop in a matter of seconds. I haven’t yet watched the crash, but I believe I stopped within the matter of 1 second. It was so fast, I don’t even remember what hit me in the face. I do remember the pain, though…and that is something I surely wish to forget.

The pain. The blood. The fact that whatever sliced my forehead to the bone could very well have cut my eyes, my throat, could have killed me. These are things that often return to my thoughts and make me want to return to my bed, to college, to my guitar, to something other than downhill ski racing. I question my choice of career, feeling sorry for my body and for the stress and harm it does to my mind. There is surely something out there for me that is painless, peaceful, and still enjoyable. There is something that is less scary, more predictable, and certainly safer. There is something still. But the more I think about it, the clearer I understand that that something is to come later. I have already reached that point of no return—of fracturing my pelvis in five places, of already slicing my face to the point of needing over 100 stitches, of dislocating my shoulder five times, of tearing my ACL…the list goes on. But each time I have healed. I have returned to the deranged sport, regardless of the repercussions—hungry, antsy, and in search of something greater—something greater than before, a speed faster than before, a more perfect run than before. I cannot imagine myself doing anything else at this point in my life.

As a ski racer there are many things that I have come to accept: I will crash, I will probably break some more bones, tear some more ligaments, and incur serious injuries to my body that would otherwise be avoided. These thoughts are scary but they simply come with the way of life, and every single ski racer knows this. I am learning that I can find peace within the chaos of my life, by calming my mind and accepting what comes my way. I have learned a few things about myself in the past week: I am emotional. I need a better mattress. I am a loud yoga breather. I desperately need this time at home with friends and family. I love skiing. To death. So I will get back on my skis as soon as I can…maybe it will be scary, maybe it will be perfect. Either way, I know the risks I am taking and I know that I need to treasure the time I have because there will soon come a day when I will have to obey slow signs on the mountain, get a real job, and lead a more steady, quiet life. If I can cannon into a fence on the fastest part of the fastest course on the women’s World Cup circuit and only suffer some cuts and bruises, I can handle anything else that is thrown my way. I have experienced the worst…so it can only get better, right?

Besides, ski racing wouldn’t be as entertaining, interesting or fun without the flailing, high speed crashes. At least I don’t have to run the Hahnenkamm…


I am home now until December 29th, when I will hopefully depart for Europe with the rest of the speed team. If everything works out accordingly, my next race will be in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria on January 7th and 8th. Until then, I will be recovering, making music and movies, taking pictures, enjoying Christmas at home, and hopefully working out and getting strong soon! Stay tuned for videos and more posts, as I will certainly have the time to create both. Peace, love, and happy holidays 🙂


About lalalaurenne

not too much to tell. I am a very boring person.
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16 Responses to thrilling frightening enlightening

  1. Rick says:

    I hope you feel better this week and healed before Christmas Laurenne. Yes, this crash could have been so much worse, you were going so fast.

  2. Mark C says:

    This is a fantastic post. You’re the good kind of loco. Get well soon.

  3. Elisabeth says:

    you are awesome! you will heal up and killll ittt!!!! your an inspiration.

  4. David says:

    Gut-wrenching to watch the crash. I hope your mind and body recover quickly and you are back shredding in no time.

  5. Gary says:

    You are very inspiring! My family and I were all quite shaken when we saw your crash. I think Lindsey Vonn’s reaction from the finish area pretty much mirrored ours. I always enjoy your blogg and the fact that you are a ski racer, a musician, an artist of sorts and obviously very intelligent makes you a great role model for all the young racers. I am an old (49) man now and just started ski racing after having kids in ski racing for the last three years. When I was 19 I was serving in the Army Special Forces and jumping out of planes was part of the job description. I had a terrible parachute accident but had to keep jumping to stay in the profession. I was having flashbacks while reading your blogg. Getting back out on that next jump was one ofthe smartest things I have ever done. What an amazing and exciting life I have had even if a bit dangerous 🙂 You can always go to college and get a real job!

  6. Hello Laurenne, thank you for these very personal thoughts. It shows how much skiing means to you and your passion for it – I think you’ve made the 100% best decision to be a skier! Apart from skiing, I also want to tell you that you shoot great photos, I like them very much on your blog – the beautiful scenes like sunrises, but specially also the detail shots which show you got a great way of seeing things!
    Best wishes for the next races!
    Ciao from Austria,

  7. Rob says:

    I am a cinematographer. Judging by your videos you have plenty of talent in other areas beside skiing. That talent will remain. So enjoy the life of a world class athlete now. Embrace the speed and competition as long as it thrills you and makes you happy, then move on. Thanks for the thoughtful blog, and best wishes for a fast recovery.

  8. Tara says:

    You are such a talented and strong lady Laurenne, I know you will be back out there in no time! You dodged a bullet on that one, don’t piss off whatever angel is sitting on your shoulder! Thinking of you, hope you feel better soon!

  9. We don’t even get a link to the video?

    Kidding. Laurenne, I am so happy you are okay and you are the toughest girl I know. I know that no crash will stop you from doing what you love and you will probably come back faster than before. Really trying to take off work and come for a roadtrip down the visit before you bounce off to Europe.

    I think my Mom when reading this blog was grateful I decided to exit ski racing at 17 rather than another 4 years in College or beyond because Speed is all I would want to be doing 🙂

    Love you dearly and rest up.

    -Lauren Summers

  10. Laurenne I really wish I wouldn’t have just watched that video. I googled “Laurenne Ross crash” and it brought me to the Fear Factor website. I should have known it was going to be bad at that point. Thank God you are okay.

  11. ctecvie says:

    laurenne, thank you so much for this inspiring post. wow! you are one tough lady.
    looking forward so much to seeing you back on the slopes. meanwhile, enjoy the time with your family.
    merry christmas and heal up real quick!

  12. Liz Stephen says:

    Great Blog Laurenne. I am wishing you the speediest recovery and happy Christmas!

  13. GA says:

    I wouldn’t worry about your next career: writing talent is obvious and your photos and videos are as much fun. I wonder how come these ski mags don’t pick-up on you?! There’s nothing interesting to read there and at least a real racer’s pov would be a great addition.
    Until then, try to put this experience behind. I know it’s not easy, it will take time and determination. But I’m sure people close to you will be there for support. Looking forward to watch you again on the slopes! Merry Christmas!

  14. Tyson says:

    Excellent post. You’re so on the right side of it all. Keep strong, get stronger, and heal fast. Hope to see you in Bend over xmas before you take off. Ski fast. -Tyson

  15. addie beasley says:

    hey laurenne, its addie from mbsef 🙂
    i was wondering if you had a skype or ichat, my email is, if you’d want to do that sometime!! i hope you get well soon and you did amazing forerunning russ read with us! thanks for coming by the way, that meant a lot. hope to see you soon!

    -addie 🙂

  16. C. Faria says:

    Laurenne – When my dad came home with this story my mom and I thought about all the other crazy dangerous things that have happened to you. Especially when Wells skied over you.

    Happy to hear that you are feeling a bit better. It certainly seems as you have used up your 9 lives…..looks like you got more like 90. =)

    C. Faria

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