We finally made it! In my opinion, this is perhaps the best month of the ski season. The snow is phenomenal, the sunshine is ample, and hints of spring really start to peak out. This is also a month of transition. Bikers, hikers and campers start heading south  to shed some layers, dust off the summer adventure gear and sleep in a tent.

This year, my transition includes a little body upkeep. From years of ski racing injuries, I have a nagging shoulder injury that I’m finally going to take care of. I have planned my surgery strategically around my seasonal activities: At the end of the ski season, at the beginning of mud season, and in plenty of time to heal before bike and horseback riding!

So, for the remainder of the season, I will be sharing my experience about recovering from injury. Many people in my situation would choose to put off this surgery, but I am ready to get back to complete health and close the door on years of skiing injuries. I still suffer from head injuries and pelvis fractures, so the last thing I want is to deal with a very sub-par dominant arm for years down the road.

I have a torn labrum and rotator cuff which will both be repaired at the same time. The labrum is the meniscus of your shoulder. It sits in between your bones and cushions the joint. When the labrum tears, the joint becomes unstable and causes much pain when the tear comes outside the joint and gets pinched. In addition, the rotator cuff is the majority of your motor skills coming from the front of your shoulder. Once you tear this, your arm not only becomes weak, but you lose much of your capability for strength and mobility. The two of these injuries combined cause me much pain and a severe loss of range of motion and motor strength.


After surgery I will heal for two weeks before I start physical therapy. Sadly, this is my second surgery on the same shoulder so I am well aware of the hard work and discomfort that comes with recovery. The nice part is that I will have both my legs to be able to hike and walk. My activities will go from skiing, skinning and skate skiing to a lot of walking and hiking. My dogs will love me!

As I miss the remainder of the ski season, I will be confident in knowing I will be back to great health for next season. As spoiled as we are in Steamboat, I know I have many more Champagne Powder® days in my lifetime.


If you’re around the base area today, make sure to check out the New Breed Brass Band playing at 3:30 as part of the Bud Light Rocks the Boat Concert Series.

Until my next injury report, enjoy March’s mix of new snow and epic sunshine!

Brett Buckles, Alpine skier

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