The long way back – Pierre Vaultier is back on snow
It was March 14, 2012, the pen-ultimate snowboard cross race of last season, which changed all summer plans Pierre Vaultier (FRA) might have had in mind.
Due to a tiny lack of concentration, the 25-years-old from Serre Chevalier got injured.
“Technically, I broke the talus, which is a small bone in the ankle connecting tibia, heal and metatarsals. This small bone was frankly broken in many pieces due to vertical impact of the tibia like you would brake a nut with a hammer,” analysed the two-time Olympian in a interview with fissnowboard.com.
As a consequence, surgery was hardly recommended right away which also meant that Vaultier missed his career's third Crystal Globe award ceremony.
“It didn't bother me to miss it due to my health situation at that given time. But when I got the globe through my team mate (William Bankes) when he was visiting me, I had the feeling that I was missing an episode.
But after all, what counts the most is that I won,” recapped the French top gun.
Due to the injury, it wasn't only his race schedule for the last event which changed but also the one for his summer.
“I did a lot of studies and renovating – yes, on one leg! However, rehab took up a lot of time and still does. So, my spring, summer and autumn have been very busy but it didn't gave me a bitter taste.”
However, finally, after months of taking it step by step, the rider with so far 14 World Cup wins to his belt and who is still unbeaten on the Telluride and Stoneham course, is back to real business.
“I started with some real preparation in October after my second rehab journey.”
And last Tuesday, he finally took his first turns on snow again (see photo).
“It was hard because I'm still missing the mobility in the joint which made it pretty painful. Besides, the specific moves and the tension in the boots don't make it better. But although I expected a better result, I'm still satisfied and looking forward to do more.”
That said, it's more than obvious that Vaultier still needs a lot of time to be where he was before – on top.
“I expect to be back there at the end of the season, well, health-wise.”
However, he will be at the season's opener at Montafon, Austria, Dec 6 – 8, to cheer for his team mates and study the field.
My goal is to learn as much as possible by only standing at the side and watch, especially at Sochi.
However, it's a long road and I have to thank my partners who supported me during that hard time I went through, such as Red Bull and the French Ski Association. Also Albanu, Bollé and Serre Chevalier believed in me and my strength to come back and still do so. That's a big push for me.”