Robbie Dixon has had a hellish two years.
The local skier, who competed at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, is currently recovering from a fractured right tibia he suffered this summer.
Dixon, who turned 30 on Jan. 4, said the incident wasn't a violent one — he was completing his first run of the day in Zermatt, Switzerland on Aug. 6. His positioning was what it needed to be, but a rough patch on the hill was all it took.
"I didn't even fall," he said. "I came through off a pitch, I went down through a bit of a depression, and the next section was a bit flatter.
"I passed a gate with my right foot and felt a little bit of inconsistency.
"That extra force was a little too much, and the leg snapped inside the gate. I felt it right away."
He wasn't sure whether the injury was made worse by his previous leg injury, suffered during a downhill race in Copper Mountain, Colo. in November 2012. The more recent injury is just below his previous one.
"I wasn't sure what the reason is. I don't have the answer," he said.
He returned in time for the 2013-14 campaign after the first break, and ended up taking out the intramedullary rod, used for stabilization, this past March. He was training for the super-G when the second injury occurred.
Dixon said the injury was particularly frustrating given how ideal everything else was that day. However, he said, in a way, it further strengthened his determination to return.
"It's this beautiful bluebird day with perfect snow conditions," he said. "And here I am in this helicopter getting flown off the mountain. All I could think about at the time was 'This wasn't how my career was supposed to end.'
"I've never doubted myself. I've never stopped believing. I still haven't."
Dixon explained as part of the surgical procedure, which took place two days after the injury, he had a new rod inserted as well as a plate put in to fix his fibula. He said his doctor is encouraged by his recovery.
"Things are doing quite well. The surgery went really well," Dixon said. "I'm happy with where it's at, and for a bone to heal, it just takes time. That's what I'm dealing with right now."
Though he described the second injury as "a slap in the face", Dixon said he's staying as positive as possible, feeling the body reacts better to positivity. He explained he's working to maintain the range of motion in his ankle and knee, and is looking forward to starting weight training to build up the calf, quadriceps and gluteal muscles.
"It's tough, because on some level you have to let it heal, but at the same time, you have to give it a little bit of a check and beat it up a little bit — not beat it up, but put some pressure to it, and impact, but doing it in a way that doesn't irritate it," he said. "Your body will tell you if you're doing too much."
Dixon doesn't expect to return to the slopes any time soon, noting he's hoping to make it back in the spring. Though speaking from Calgary last month, Dixon plans to continue his recovery in Whistler beginning in January.