Date of Surgery: 2/3/2016
Update (6/2017): Kim made a full career return to instructing last winter.
I grew up in Bristol in the United Kingdom, and started skiing on family holidays from the age of 5. After leaving school at 18, planned to do one ski season before beginning university… I am now on season number 7!
My first season saw me qualifying as a BASI (British Association of Snowsports Instructors) level 2 ski instructor after doing a 10 week gap course in Val d’Isere. The two seasons following focused on the BASI level 3 qualification, whilst also gaining some teaching experience and doing a season in Thredbo, Australia.
My last three winters (before my injury) I was based in the 4 valleys in Switzerland. I work full time during the winter season for Performance Ski School in Verbier whilst also training for the final British ski instructing qualification, the BASI level 4.
Part of the BASI level 4 involves passing the ‘Eurotest’, a giant slalom speed test that you must pass in order to ski instruct in France. I’ve spent three autumns on the glacier in Tignes, France, training for the eurotest, and unfortunately during training last December, had a crash that ruptured my ACL and cracked the meniscus. The injury meant I couldn’t teach last winter, so I left Verbier at the end of December and headed back to Bristol for the year.
Treatment Procedure and Recovery Plan
I had my reconstructive surgery at the Spire Hospital, Bristol on February 3rd 2016. My meniscus was repaired and stitched back together which pushed the rehabilitation process back a bit as I was in a leg brace and not allowed to weight bear for the first 6 weeks. I saw my physiotherapist about once a week for 9 months, and spent a lot of time in the gym trying to rebuild the lost muscle in my left leg! I had my first ski since the operation today and my left knee is feeling strong and stable! My plan is to take this season easily, and focus more on getting back into instructing, rather than completing the level 4. By next winter, I hope to have gained the confidence and full strength to get back into serious skiing and race training.
"Without the help and support from everyone at the Kees Brenninkmeyer foundation, I doubt I would be returning to my career as a ski instructor this winter. They have ensured that I received all the treatment I felt I needed this year and the efficiency and communication has been unbelievable! The cause and generosity of this special foundation is one of a kind, and I will forever be thankful to them for helping me get back on skis!"
- Kim Richardson