Michelle Parker “The Black Panther”

What is it like being surrounded by a bunch of guys on most ski trips?

It has certainly become the norm for me after 12 years of doing this. I love all of my guy friends who I get to spend time with in the mountains; I learn a lot from them and they are like brothers to me. I especially like having girl talk with them, haha. While I love traveling with a group of guys all the time, I truly embrace the times I get to hang out with my girlfriends. Sometimes, believe it or not, I’m not the only girl…those times are special. A couple of facts of life on the road with dudes are that they really do smell worse than girls, they will never put the toilet seat down, and you become the butt end of most jokes. However, it’s great to learn to stand up for yourself and  maintain a degree of femininity. Hanging with the guys has certainly pushed me at times to be a better me and to be a better skier. Then again, hanging with girls in the mountains is something magical.

So you got hurt in Sentry…could you tell us a bit about what happened?

 We were a couple of weeks into the trip and it had been an amazing trip. I hit this little double pillow that was a bit flat with sporty/fast snow. I just shot off the second pillow blinded and got a bit back seat. A simple tumble and I felt my knee cap pop out of place and then back into place. I knew right then that my knee was hurt, but I had no idea how bad. The pain subsided after a little while and I was able to relax and hold my shit together. I was airlifted to the hospital in Golden, BC where I got x rays. I didn’t really know anyone in Golden so I jumped in a cab and got a hotel room for a couple of nights while I made a plan of how to get home. Long story short I ended up just driving myself home for 20 hours. 

Upon arriving home I immediately got an MRI which determined that I had blown my ACL out as well as severe lateral meniscus damage. Surgery was scheduled for the very next day to suture my meniscus back up. I am now three weeks out of that first surgery and in another 3-5 weeks I will have a second operation to replace the ACL and clean up the meniscus. I’m in really good spirits despite all of this and looking forward to being good to go again!

 

How is the recovery coming along?

The meniscus is a bit of a slow process to recover from, I am non weight bearing and thus am not allowed to do a whole lot at the moment to get my knee going. I have been working out every other limb that I have basically all day, and have been diligently doing the limited amount of exercises that I am allowed to do. I feel great and am in super good health, so hopefully all of that will help speed this process up. I am really looking forward to getting the ACL repaired and then it’s game on with being super proactive in the recovery process. 

What are you doing to keep yourself occupied during rehab?

I’ve been reading a lot of amazing books, really trying to embrace the down time. I’m playing the ukulele every day, which has been a fun challenge and very healing. I enjoy day dreaming about all of the rad stuff I’m going to do when I’m back in action haha. Of course I’ve also been surrounded by a lot of amazing friends who have constantly been helping me out and keeping me company. Its been incredible to feel the love from everyone and I’ve been so stoked on that. I feel so lucky. 

Where would be the one location you want to ski this season and why?

I was looking forward to skiing in AK this year more than anywhere. Last year I spent a fair amount of time up there and by the end of the season I was really feeling much more capable, confident, and comfortable in those mountains. I was fired up to get back up there and put time in those mountains again to see what I am capable of. It was really something that I was looking forward to very very much, but this will still happen in the future.

Is there a favorite skier you like to follow right now that we should all follow too?

The legend Hoji!!!! Hoji has been one of my favorite skiers for a really long time. He’s been doing this for a while and has so much experience in all different terrain. He’s very well rounded and intuitive as a skier. Always playing with his gear to make sure it’s perfect and then when he has that dialed he spends his time dialing in everyone else gear to make sure that we all have a successful trip. He truly wants everyone to succeed and he wants everyone to have the best time ever. He’s inspiring to watch ski as well as just learning from him to be an efficient and smart mountain person. Plus he’s just such a legend! 

Is there one skier out there that you have never been on a trip with yet, but really want to ski with them at some point?

 I’d love to go on a trip with Hilaree O’Neil one day. We have a lot of mutual friends and I just think that would be an epic adventure no matter where we went. Also, I’ve heard she’s strong as an ox and that is totally rad.

Sounds like you really enjoy climbing. Will you be able to get out there this summer? Where will you go?

Yes, climbing is almost tied with skiing for my favorite sport as well as mountain biking. I’ll be able to climb for sure, but this injury will definitely effect the full climbing season. I’ve been working on my upper body quite a bit in preparation for being good to go this summer. I’m planning some fun stuff for September when I am fully back and the fall will be full on! I’ll be home, surely, for a good portion of the summer since we have all time climbing here, and in the whole Sierra Nevada range. I’ve got plans to visit the Red River Gorge too this fall which will be super fun. Depending on how I feel I’ll start planning some more fun adventures, no doubt, when I am healthy!