VAIL — Heidi Kloser is hoping to go mountain biking soon.
The Vail native and World Cup moguls skier crashed and tore her ACL on the Olympic course during a warm-up run in Russia in February, leaving her unable to compete at the Games.
The road to Sochi quickly merged with the road to recovery for Kloser, and now, six months out of surgery, Kloser says she’s feeling good, but not good enough for on-snow training just yet.
“Even though I may feel good right now, I just need to let the graft settle in to the bone,” she said. “Everyone’s injury is different, they have these guidelines that they think you should follow, but are they necessarily the same for everyone? No. Right now they think that I’m doing really well and increasing strength progressively, which is great, but the ACL is not ready to do a lot of stuff yet, according to the doctors, it just needs to heal more ... They’re saying around six months I can do mountain biking, so in a few weeks I can probably do that.”
Right now, doctors have cleared Kloser for uphill hiking, road biking, swimming and golf, but that’s about it as far as sports go. It keeps her active, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like enough.
“It’s been a little bit frustrating because I usually do a lot more in the summer, but it’s OK,” she said.
She spends three days per week with a physical trainer. Every six weeks or so, she comes back to Vail from Park City, where she works with the U.S. Ski Team’s doctors and trainers, to see her doctor, Bill Sterett.
Coming back to visit Vail means she gets to spend time with her parents, West Vail residents Mike and Emily Kloser, and her brother, Christian.
“It’s always great when Heidi’s back in town,” Mike Kloser said Monday. “We do what we can with her. Golf is allowed, so we went and hit some balls, and she can hike uphill only, so we took the Materhorn trail up and rode the gondola back down, which is a really nice amenity to have.”
Mike Kloser says Heidi has stayed very disciplined with her recovery.
‘PLAY IT BY THE BOOK’
“Heidi’s a real stickler for following the rules, unlike her father,” he said with a laugh. “She does exactly what the doctors and trainers say, and when she’s back home, we see her working hard to try to do everything she physically can in her rehab. Her attitude is she’s going to play it by the book.”
For now, that means a lot of weight training and working with a physical therapist. She says she’s been working on “squats, deadlifts, lunges (and) single-leg leg presses. I can do some plyometric stuff with the physical theripist, I can jump on and off some boxes, not very large boxes, but some, and working on controlling the landings, and also I can do some single-leg jumping and landing stuff.”
WAITING FOR SNOWFALL
As far as getting back on the snow, Kloser won’t be heading to the upcoming southern hemisphere training camp with the rest of her team, but by the time the snow starts falling here in the Rocky Mountains, “I should be ready to be on it,” she said.
If she’s lucky, she may even get in some surfing in San Diego first.
“I kind of know how to surf,” she said. “I’ll be standing on the wave for about 5 seconds before I fall on my face, so I’ll be off my feet a lot, maybe they’ll let me.”