Bo Randolph knows the nerves will be there.
They're there before every race. Sometimes they get so bad he can't brush his teeth, because touching anything more than the front of his teeth makes him gag while his stomach knots up.
But this season will be different for Randolph, 20, who was on the cusp of making the U.S. freestyle mogul ski team prior to the start of last year.
This, in essence, will be the biggest and most challenging year of his skiing career.
Just a year ago at U.S. Selections in Winter Park, Randolph was laying down the run of his life. He'd already cleared the toughest part of the course when his binding shattered, his right toe hit a mogul and his season was done.
No more skiing. No more training. No more thoughts of the U.S. Ski Team.
Randolph broke his right ankle and severely sprained the other. It was a deafening blow to an athlete who was becoming a bigger and bigger blip on the national team's radar.
"It's six weeks for a break, and the sprains were much, much worse," Randolph said. "It lasted all the way to the beginning of the summer. The ankles are weaker and stretched out but they don't hurt."
That's a good thing for Randolph, who will get back to competition for the first time Dec. 5 and 6 at a regional event in Winter Park. He'll be on the same course where he was injured, training for the same event.
Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club freestyle program Director Erik Skinner said he's anxious and nervous to see how Randolph responds. Skinner said the regional event should be a good indicator of how Randolph will do at the Dec. 18 to 20 U.S. Selection events in Winter Park.
"He's the underdog trying to play catch-up," Skinner said. "If anyone can get through it, he can do it. He's got a good shot at it."
Randolph admits both competitions will be nerve-wracking, to say the least. He's been training since the summer, has skied moguls a few times and continues to work on his aerials.
But there's no telling how he'll react on that first run back.
"I can usually hardly eat anything the morning of competitions," he said. "I imagine that'll be 10 times worse that first competition."
Still, Randolph said he's excited to return and compete and get back onto the U.S. Ski Team's radar.
"It would be great to make the ski team," he said. "Every year, I've gotten a little bit better or a lot better, so it's going to go somewhere, and I'm hoping that's the team."
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