Date of Surgery: 12/30/2014
Update (4/2018): James has returned to instructing full-time.
I have lived in Silverthorne, Colorado since 1980 to present. I became involved in skiing when my parents took my older brother and me to Silver Hills Ski Area, west of Pueblo, CO. I was 11 at the time and my elder brother had already had been exposed, so I was in the chase! Elevated participation in skiing happened when I was injured in a high school football scrimmage and I realized that the guy who crushed me was smaller than I was … I decide that skiing was less dangerous, way more adventurous and a lot more fun. I had my 1st official ski lesson at Hidden Valley while at CSU as my physical education requirement.
I started my ski teaching career when I was recruited to work at Conquistador Ski Area in Westcliffe, Colorado, which was from 1975-76. I have been employed at Breckenridge Resort since 1980 and am currently working full time, teaching and training ski instructors. I have been employed in a few different roles at the resort including instructing, training, training manager, and supervising. I achieved PSIA Stage 1 “Associate” Certification in 1975, Stage 2 “Full” certification in 1983, obtained PSIA-RM Divisional Clinic Leader Status in 1984 and became an Examiner in PSIA-RM, 1985. I served on the PSIA-RM Board of Directors from 1995-99 and was also the Alpine Committee Chair/Chief Examiner in the same time frame. I plan on continuing my teaching/training position for the foreseeable future. I will be forced to retire as an Examiner/Independent Contractor and apply for Emeritus status with PSIA-RM this spring due to additional education requirements that I have decided is not in my best interest. I have been fortunate to work in the golf industry as a seasonal compliment to my winter position for just short of two decades. I am currently employed as the Head Golf Professional at the Keystone Ranch Golf Course and will continue in that capacity as long as I am able and willing to do so.
Treatment Procedure and Recovery Plan
I had surgery for full replacement of my left knee on 12/30/2014 through Colorado Joint Replacement at Porter Hospital in Denver, CO. I did my follow up physical therapy with AXIS Sports Medicine in Frisco, CO. I was on short term disability for the whole of the 2014 – 2015 ski season. I was able to return to work at the golf course in mid April at full capacity as the head professional through the season, which ends in October. I spent the late spring and summer focused on doing a great deal of road cycling for PT with my best friend to continue to develop strength and flexibility in my knee. I also did a massive quantity of hiking while working for a friend in his big game hunting business as a guide and did some hunting of my own. This left me in pretty great shape overall and on the road to recovery. I was able to return full time to my ski instruction career this last fall, November 2015! I am still functioning teaching full time and, although I’m not 100% and where I was in terms of skill and attitude two seasons ago, I’m on my way!
"Having the guidance encouragement of peers and professionals led me to learn about the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation and what was possible regarding additional financial assistance for skiing/ guiding professionals for my necessary procedure. I was not only approved for the replacement of my bad knee but was able to have the other knee checked as well to confirm that it didn't need any attention! With the rising, escalating and complicated nature of health care, even if you have good insurance there are out of pocket expenses that are not covered. I would have experienced financial hardship without the aid of the Foundation due to the fact that I was on short term disability and wouldn't have the extra income to cover said expenses. I am immensely thankful to the Foundation for all of the guidance, help and assistance provided to get me back in the game! I can't tell you how many times this season the my friends, peers and management team have personally told me how glad they are to have me back ... that is an incredible feeling!! I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude for what has been given to me and that I am still able to make a contribution to my sports, my careers and live the life I've carved out for myself over the years! It is a testament to the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation and what they do to support working class professionals like myself ... and I am eternally grateful for all that you have done! "
- James Banks