Kelsey Serwa back on the snow

Kelowna ski cross racer Kelsey Serwa was back on the snow this week testing out her repaired left knee at Mt. Hood, Oregon.  - Contributed
Kelowna ski cross racer Kelsey Serwa was back on the snow this week testing out her repaired left knee at Mt. Hood, Oregon.
— image credit: Contributed

Less than seven months after undergoing surgery to repair her badly damaged left knee, Kelsey Serwa is back on the slopes.

The 22-year-old from Kelowna is spending the next two weeks at Mount Hood, Oregon training with the rest of the Canadian ski cross team.

Serwa, the 2011 world and X-Games ski cross champion, took to the snow on Monday for the first time since suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and damaged meniscus after crashing at a World Cup race Jan. 11 in Alpe d'Huez, France.

"I was nervous to start skiing at first just because I expected my knee to feel different than it felt before my accident," Serwa wrote on her blog this week. "After a few slow turns I was pleasantly surprised. My knee feels exactly the same than it used to. I am taking it slow at the moment with skiing. The important thing for me right now is to not rush into anything too soon."

It's been a long and, at times, arduous road back for Serwa who underwent surgery Jan. 30 in Whistler.

After performing only basic rehabilitation exercises for the first several months in the winter and spring—including plenty of physiotherapy at Pinnacle Elite and swimming at the YMCA—Serwa was able to push her rehab to the next level in July with strength training to rebuild the muscles around the knee.

"Basic easy movements were extremely difficult and took tremendous mental strength just to get through them," she wrote. "Big stepping stones in my training included the first time I was able to pedal a bike, jump on and off a box, do a squat with more than 25 pounds on my back, and touch my heel to my bum. What is amazing is the rate of progression from one week to the next. Each week I am stronger."

At the time she suffered her injury, Serwa was at the top of her game. She had emerged from teammate Ashleigh McIvor’s shadow to become a consistent podium threat on the World Cup circuit and looked like she had a legitimate shot at becoming the first Canadian to capture the Crystal Globe as the top female skier on the circuit.

In 2011, over the course of a few memorable weeks, Serwa crash-landed her way to gold at the X Games—suffering a nasty back injury in the process—before showing incredible courage and determination to claim victory at the world championships in Deer Valley, USA, just a week later.

Since making the switch from downhill to ski cross racing in 2009, Serwa has had 12 World Cup podium finishes, including two victories in Italy in December of last year.

If all goes as planned, Serwa will be 100 per cent healthy and back competing on the Canadian team for the first World Cup ski cross event of the 2012-13 season Dec. 6 at Nakiska.


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