Toby Miller celebrates after a run in the men's snowboard halfpipe finals at the 2018 U.S. Grand Prix on Dec. 8, 2018 in Copper Mountain, Colo.
The biggest moment on my radar leading up to the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 is the final U.S. Grand Prix here at Mammoth Mountain this weekend. I missed out on the two qualifying events in Aspen last season due to injury, and that has definitely put a lot of pressure on me going into this season. Having Mammoth be the final stop, this is a big one for me. I'm really looking forward to it. I put in the time and am excited to go do what I've been working towards.
I’ve had an interesting journey to get to this point — from the low of injuries to the high of winning events and standing on the podium and watching my friends succeed, too. Here’s more about what I have learned on this journey, who has influenced my career, and what I will call success this weekend.
Returning from Injury
I injured my right ankle last January in the lead-up to the X Games. I had a high ankle sprain and bruised the talus bone. The doctors told me that I could ride, but I was at risk of potentially breaking the talus. With the sprain and bruise, I was looking at a six-week recovery time. But if I were to break the talus, which was a very probable situation, I was looking at probably six to eight months of recovery time. That would have definitely set me back way more coming into to the Olympic qualifying year. So we definitely made the right decision.
The Copper Grand Prix in December 2021 was my first time competing since my ankle injury. Actually, with the COVID-19 pandemic, it was my first time competing since 2020. Anytime you get an injury, it's definitely heartbreaking and frustrating — so many different emotions go through your head. But I always make it my goal to come out of an injury as a better athlete mentally and physically than I went into it. So that's exactly what I did. I put in the time at the gym. I did my physical therapy and got as strong as I possibly could in that time period. The next time I was on snow, it was the strongest I've ever been on a snowboard. It definitely made a huge difference in my snowboarding.
At the Copper Grand Prix, it felt great to be back in a bib. I landed the run I wanted in qualification. But I was one point shy of making finals, which is definitely really tough. Then at Dew Tour the following week, I wasn't able to put down the run that I wanted to do in qualification, which unfortunately, made me miss out on the final. But looking at those building blocks coming into this weekend, I’m going to fix everything that went wrong at those two events and put it all together here hopefully.