For an American Downhiller, injury is just another part of the game. In fact, it’s almost inevitable that at some point during his career, a downhiller on the men’s World Cup tour will find himself sitting in bed and watching the races from afar. Torn ligaments, broken bones, or damaged muscles prevent downhillers from kicking out of the starting gate more frequently than athletes and fans desire.
On January 27, 2017, Steven Nyman was flying through the air in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, on a collision course with disaster. Collapsing to the snow upon landing, Nyman careened into the safety netting, shredding his left knee in the process. The injury came shortly before the 2017 World Ski Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, a venue where Nyman was runner-up in the downhill the previous season.
Pain, self-doubt, boredom, and fear are only a fraction of the emotions a ski racer must deal with when coming back from a season-ending injury. In episode four of The American Downhiller presented by POC, we follow Nyman’s journey from the moment of his crash to his return to skiing, discovering just what it takes to rejoin the elite ranks of World Cup downhill racing along the way.