His season was shut down before the Olympics, and he ended up missing the final few races on the World Cup tour, but don't think that Robbie Dixon is considering this winter as disappointing.
"I'm really proud of what I accomplished this year," Dixon told Pique on Monday, March 31. "For where I've come from in the past year and a half, I'm pretty pumped. I'm happy with where I'm at."
Dixon suffered a full break of his tibia and fibula just days before the 2012-13 season was about to begin, but he managed to make his World Cup comeback this year with a titanium rod supporting the bone.
But a tib-fib fracture comes with no ordinary recovery, and the Whistler Mountain Ski Club product hit a few bumps on the road to rehab that brought his season to a premature end in mid-January.
"After Kitzbühel, I had torn some scar tissue... around where the screws were at the bottom of the break. That was a minor setback, nothing major, but a setback enough that it kind of put me out of the game for a bit," said Dixon.
The 29-year-old returned home, and after a discussion with coaches and doctors, decided not to attempt a return to racing this year — and to have the rod removed instead.
"The biggest thing this year that was kind of holding me back a bit in terms of racing was the ankle and knee flexion. Really driving through the top of a turn, it felt like the rod sort of held me back a little bit with pain and discomfort," said Dixon.
So the 2010 Olympian went back under the knife in early March to take the rod out, and spent the weeks that followed in Calgary recovering.
"I'm really happy to have it out," he said. "It's healing well. Obviously, it's been a long road for the healing, and patience is key in this whole process. It's difficult at times, but I think I'm doing the right thing to get prepared for next year."
And there were encouraging results to build off of during his limited race action this winter. Dixon posted a couple of fourth-place finishes in Nor-Am Cup downhill races before Christmas, and was close to finishing in the points during World Cup speed races in Italy in January.
Dixon, who has 11 top-10 finishes in his World Cup career, was 35th in the Val Gardena super-G and 32nd in the Bormio downhill, finishing less than one-tenth of a second from a top-30 result in the latter outing.
Completing some of the demanding European tracks, and skiing through tough conditions on the North American ones this year, were positive signs, said Dixon.
"Going over to Val Gardena, where the jumps were huge... the leg held up well through all that, and even at Bormio," he said. "That was pretty cool.
"I was pumped to be racing again, though it would have been nice to get in the points."
Dixon would have needed some big results early in the season to earn an Olympic berth, and he said it was tough missing out on the Games this year. He was also disappointed he couldn't participate in the Canadian Alpine Championships at home for the second year in a row. But Dixon arrived in the Sea to Sky for a two-week visit just as nationals were wrapping up, so he got a chance to meet up with teammates over the final two days of racing.
Looking ahead, Dixon is hopeful he'll be back at 100 per cent when he meets up with his Canadian teammates again for offseason training camps.
"I want to build this leg back up and be in the best condition I can possibly be in come training," he said.
"I want to know when I come into first training camps that there's no second guessing, that the leg's doing good, the body's feeling good and I'm ready for next year."