Truckee’s Hannah Halvorsen on road to recovery after being hit by car
Hannah Halvorsen is one of the top Nordic athletes to come out of the Truckee-Tahoe area.
Following a breakout season that saw her make her first World Cup starts and claim podium finishes at the National Championships, the 21 year old was set for a big season in 2019-20.
That all changed, however, during an early November day while attending school at Alaska Pacific University.
“I was in downtown Anchorage, in a crosswalk, and I got hit by a car,” said Halvorsen in an interview with U.S. Ski & Snowboard.
Halvorsen, who was named to the U.S. Cross-Country Ski D Team, would spend the next five days in the hospital, suffering from a fractured skull, bleeding and bruising in her brain, a tibia fracture, and a left MCL and PCL that had torn completely and detached from the bone.
“I think I’d be struggling more if I had fallen roller skiing and gotten hurt. But half of me is so amazed that I’m alive, I was so close to something so much worse. I was a hair away from being paralyzed, blind or dead. So I’m very thankful. I’m going to be able to ski again,” Halvorsen said in an interview with U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I feel more excited and sure about being a skier and making the Olympics. This (accident) has really simplified things for me and put my priorities in line. I’ve realized what matters — doing what you love, with people you love, and that is skiing.”
Since the accident, Halvorsen has undergone successful knee surgery. She then returned to the area last month for a fundraiser hosted by Sugar Bowl Ski Team & Academy to help offset some of the expenses she’s had and will incur as she makes her way back to skiing. Halvorsen graduated from Sugar Bowl Academy in 2016.
“Although I have experienced a fair share of sadness, frustration, and fear, I have also been overwhelmed with gratitude for life and love,” Halvorsen posted to her Instagram account after the accident. “Every day I have this realization that I am still alive and that I have no permanent injuries. Thank you everyone who has texted, called, sent me cards and art supplies, and let me stay in your home. I believe I can make it to the next Olympics and that’s because of you.”
This month Halvorsen will begin a lengthy rehab process in Park City, Utah, at U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Center of Excellence as she starts the journey back to getting on the snow.
“There is a road now. As long as there is a road, and path to get there, I’m happy. I can do that,” she told U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I’m going to jump through every hoop I can to keep moving forward, but I know I can’t rush it.”
Halvorsen’s goal for the early part of 2020 is partial weight bearing on her knee. She then hopes to cheer on her teammates this March at an upcoming World Cup event in Minneapolis.
“It is something I’m considering because it was one of the biggest goals I had for the ski season,” she added on making the trip Minneapolis. “I would definitely like to be there.”
Moving forward, Halvorsen has set up accounts to help support her recovery and goal of reaching the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China.
“After getting hit by a car and losing my ski season, my winter looks drastically different than I planned,” wrote Halvorsen in an Instagram post. “However, my determination to be the best skier I can is stronger than ever and I still have expenses in order to get on my skis as soon as possible.”
To help support Halvorsen, visit http://www.paypal.me/HannahHalvorsen or https://venmo.com/Hannah-Halvorsen. Funds can also be mailed directly to her at Hannah Halvorsen, care of Grace Norgard, 12476 Stockholm Way, Truckee, CA, 96161.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at email@example.com or 530-550-2643.