Steamboat Springs Frankly, Anna Marno isn’t too worried about it. In fact, the 19-year-old is embracing it.
Marno is preparing to tackle the same course, same run and same hill where she blew out her left knee nine months ago.
As a forerunner for the women’s World Cup and NorAm events in Aspen today and Monday, Marno truly will test the knee in gates for the first time.
Having it be on the same course where she suffered the injury?
“It’s a funny thing,” Marno said. “I mean, I think it’s a good thing. It’s starting where I left off. I think it’s good.”
It will be the place where Marno, the only Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club member on the U.S. Alpine Ski Team, will try to continue her ascent up the ski team roster.
The Development Team member seemed to be fast-tracked up the U.S. Ski Team ladder after multiple NorAm podium finishes and a trip to the Junior World Championships in Switzerland.
But while racing a downhill event in Aspen on Feb. 14, Marno tore the ACL and meniscus in her left knee. She had surgery in March and spent months rehabilitating in Park City, Utah, at the Center for Excellence and in Steamboat.
She was deemed 100 percent in September and wanted to go to a U.S. Ski Team camp in Chile, but doctors told her to wait.
The month after that was the toughest on her.
“I’m definitely looking at it in a positive way,” she said. “Having that long of a break from skiing made me more ready to ski than I ever have been. Mentally, I’m good. Physically, I got more time in the gym to work out and get on my bike and work out. Whether it’s a positive or not, we’ll just wait and see.”
Marno spent a good portion of November free skiing. She said she initially was nervous but felt fine when she got on skis.
She said the plan is to start competing at a pair of NorAms beginning in
early December in Canada.
“I think a good season for her, once she gets back up to speed, is at the NorAm level ,she can be on the podium,” said Trevor Wagner, the U.S. Ski Team’s women’s Europa Cup head coach. “When she is skiing up to her level and she’s comfortable, she can do podiums.”
Wagner, who lives in Steamboat, said the good thing about Marno is her attitude inside the gates. He said one thing that will help her overcome any insecurities she might have about the knee is the ferocity with which she races.
“She’s not afraid to go fast,” he said. “That’s one of the most important things in the ski racing world. She wants to go fast. That’s a great thing to coach an athlete with that skill.”
Marno will do the first NorAms of the year before heading to Europe for the highly competitive Europa Cup.
She said that after the past nine months, her only goal is to get to a place where she feels like she did before.
“For this year, I want to stay in a good place mentally,” she said. “Everyone is a little different when they are trying to get back. I don’t set any expectations for myself because I don’t want to disappoint myself. I’m confident I can have good results this year. But there is plenty of time.”
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com