Sterling Grant named Sportswoman of the Year while
Reid Pletcher returns to form BY C.J. FEEHAN
When we last caught up with Reid Pletcher, the University of Colorado nordic skier and NCAA
champion who suffered life-threatening injuries last May in a rock climbing accident, he had been
medically cleared to train and was looking forward to a winter season for which he was simply happy
to be alive.
But he’s more than alive now — he’s on fire. In his first major contest this year, Pletcher won the West
Yellowstone SuperTour skate sprint, providing himself a significant confidence boost. He has since
posted three top- 10 results in RMISA competition and is a regularly scoring team member for the Colorado Buffaloes once again. With all of this success, it’s hard to believe he spent a week in the ICU less
than nine months ago.
The injuries Pletcher suffered included a fractured skull and two broken wrists from a 25-foot fall in the
midst of a traditional (trad) climb in Boulder Canyon. While he knew the head injury would limit his return to sport, complications with the scaphoid bone in his left wrist proved to be the most detrimental to
his preparation period. “It’s one of the worst bones to break in the body because it has very little blood
flow, and I had a cast on for three months,” says Pletcher. “I knew my brain would heal, but I was worried that limitations to the physical motion in my wrist could hinder my skiing.”
While defending his NCAA title may not be a reasonable expectation, he does have his eyes set on
lofty results for the NCAA championships in Bozeman, Mont., this March. “Before the accident, I assumed after last season that I could go into my senior year and be as competitive,” says Pletcher. “After
the accident, at first I was worried that I could even ski. But then my two goals became to be competitive
Sterling Grant tops the NCAA
slalom podium in 2011.