After what seems like a lifetime of comebacks, Para-Alpine Skier Kimberly Joines has decided she isn’t going to hang up the skis but it may be time for a break.
The local sit-skier has been seen a lot of abuse on and off the slopes over her 13 year career, but she never expected to be formally recognized for it. Just last year Sport BC presented Joines with the Harry Jerome Comeback Award during their Athlete of the Year awards banquet.
“It’s nice to be recognized for that, because honestly, I’ve had about a dozen pretty crazy crashes and it’s not something you would normally ever get recognized for,” Joines laughed.
This award specifically, was for Joines’ magnificent return to skiing after cartwheeling down the track in Sochi, 2013.
“I basically broke both my shoulders, spent a week in a Russian hospital and got medical evacuation back to Canada for surgery,” Joines explained.
She then came back to win three silver medals and a bronze in the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Cups in January, 2014, followed by a bronze at the Sochi Paralympics the same year.
Joines said this award and her accomplishments are a big source of pride for her, but that accident brought her very close to retirement.
“When I hit the ground, I thought, that’s it, I’m done. I can’t take this anymore.”
But after a little more consideration she was singing a different tune.
“At that point I thought I would have to retire, but I thought about it for a few days, didn’t really want to get a real job or give up the dream so I switched to technical events. I used to race all five events, but now I only do the tech events because I’ve had way too many serious downhill crashes.”
Now that the season and crash are behind her, Joines feels she has earned some much needed rest.
“I’ve been missing my home and relationships in this town,” she said, “Probably going to take a bunch of downtime. We haven’t stopped in the last two and a half seasons. I’m running on fumes at this point. I’ve been feeling burnt-out this entire season, which is kinda funny because I had one of my best training seasons ever.”
To add to everything that could happen on the hill, Joines doesn’t have the best of luck off the hill either.
“When the World Circuits started I got hit by a streak of bad luck.”
While training in Spain, she fell victim to one of the hills unattended chairlifts.
“I was dragged down the hillside for a couple hundred meters. I still have crazy bone bruises on my shins and my face got raked along the fence line. It almost ripped my arms off.”
Luckily, someone heard her cries for help, and they rushed to turn off the lift before it was too late.
That was just days before the first World Cup of the year.
“I ended up competing in about half of those first World Cups but it was real hit or miss. If I couldn’t even lift my arms halfway up in the morning then I wouldn’t ski and if I could do 30 degrees then I would.”
After the first round of World Cups she went home for a few days then returned to Europe for the second round where her lucky streak continued on.
“On the first day, I wheeled down a snowy road in my wheelchair and got frostbite on the side of my leg that was like six inches and all blistered. So I couldn’t ski in those World Cups at all.”
Joines said she is definitely over this frustrating season.
The Rossland sit-skier is planning on taking anywhere from six months to a year to recover.