Jesse McDonald gets set for a run. The Nakusp athlete hopes her bordercross dreams hit a climax in Russia in 2014.

The long road back for Nakusp snowboarder

On the way to achieving her dreams, a severe injury set back her goals of competing in the 2010 Olympics.

On the way to achieving her dreams, a severe injury set back her goals of competing in the 2010 Olympics. Now, after four years of recovery, she’s set her boots back into the bindings of her snowboard and her eyes once again on the goal of representing Canada in boardercross.

“I’ve missed the culture, I’ve missed the lifestyle, the competition. I love the sport, I love boardercross, so it’s been really fulfilling to be back,” said Jesse McDonald.

Having competed in three boardercross races this year, McDonald is showing a strong return having placed first in two races at Red Mountain and second at a race at Big White.

McDonald — who grew up in Nakusp — says she’s been taking it easy so far this season by competing in smaller provincial level events, but will head to nationals next month, which will give her more accurate feedback as to where she stands in the field.

While her snowboarding career is starting to get back on track it’s been a difficult journey for McDonald.

“I started doing boardercross when I was 11-years-old, but when I was 18 I had a really bad injury,” she said.

“We were in Austria training when it happened. Originally it was a torn ACL, a really common injury, so back in 2008 when I did that I kind of thought it would be a quick recovery, but then it was a torn meniscus and then I was diagnosed with chronic pain. Ever since then I’ve been diligently doing physiotherapy and seeing specialists all over the country and four years later I’m just getting back.”

At the time she was on the BC team, but had competed internationally and even raced a World Cup.

“That was back when they had Project 2010 and I was targeted for the Olympics and was getting tons of funding. It was awesome, I was right in the prime of my snowboarding career… but then the injury happened.”

“It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever had happen to me,” said McDonald.

In hindsight, she says that there were also positive outcomes from her injury.

“It made me realize that it’s 100 per cent what I want to do, what I want to train for. I’m so eager to get back and I’ve got all this new motivation and it’s definitely made me love the sport.”

“I was 18 when I had my injury, I’m 21 now and in those years anyone’s going to grow, but I’ve really overcome a lot,” she said, adding that to do so, she’s had help along the way.

“I was referred to a physiotherapist here in Nelson, Damien Moroney. He’s been with me ever since day one, my coach as well, Chris Nakonechny, and my family.”

McDonald says that after she competes at nationals next month she’ll head to South America for more training and fitness camps.

“It’s cool because when we’re training for boardercross we don’t just go on a track, we’ll go in the park in Whistler and hit jumps or we’ll go hit drops and cliffs, we’ll do groomers, practice carving, ride rollers… boardercross covers every single aspect of the sport,” said McDonald.

A veteran boardercross Olympian whose example has inspired McDonald is that of Maelle Ricker.

“She’s a veteran, she won gold in the 2010 Olympics, she’s had numerous knee surgeries and she’s definitely someone I look up to,” said McDonald.

Despite having missed her first chance, McDonald still has her eyes set on one day competing in the Olympics.

“When I was younger my motivation was always 2010 Olympics, that was where I saw myself. Missing that was really tough, so I would definitely love to be in Russia 2014, that’s for sure what I’m working towards — Is it realistic, I’m not sure at this point.”

“But it’s definitely awesome to be back and winning races.”


Just Posted

Kootenay fires grow — more evacuation alerts

Syringa fire prompts evacuation alerts plus HWY 3 closure and U.S. fire crosses into B.C.

Evacuation alert for Syringa and Deer Park

The Syringa Creek Fire grew Saturday resulting in evacuation alerts.

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Smoke scraps MS Bike Challenge

The annual fundraising event cancelled its cycling Saturday because of poor air quality

Bent On Art Festival gives Kootenay Pride a creative outlet

The festival runs Aug. 27 to Sept. 2 during Pride festivities

VIDEO: Auto repair shop celebrates Nelson mural festival

A painting by Barry Overn at Downtown Automotive turned heads at the festival opening.

Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

More than 800,000people have been displaced by floods and landslides

IndyCar driver Wickens flown to hospital after scary crash

IndyCar said Wickens was awake and alert as he was taken to a hospital

Ex-BCTF president ‘undeterred’ after early release from pipeline protest jail term

Susan Lambert and Order of Canada recipient Jean Swanson released early

Fast food chains look to capitalize on vegetarian, vegan trend with new items

Seven per cent of Canadians consider themselves vegetarians and 2.3 per cent identify as vegans

B.C. swimmer halts journey across Strait of Juan de Fuca after hypothermia sets in

Victoria MS athlete Susan Simmons swam for eight-and-a-half hours in 9 C choppy waters

‘Hard on water:’ Smoke not the only long-range effect of wildfires

The project began more than 10 years ago after southern Alberta’s 2003 Lost Creek fire

B.C. VIEWS: Genuine aboriginal rights are misused and discredited

Camp Cloud one of long line of protests falsely asserting title

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to march in Montreal’s Pride parade

Trudeau will end the day in his home riding of Papineau

Most Read