Nico Monforte was ready to end his first full NorAm skicross season on a high note at the Freestyle Junior World Championships in Valmalenco, Italy, this past weekend.
He never got the chance, as a freak accident while freeskiing the day before the competition sent him to the hospital with a badly broken leg.
“He was just testing skis, freeskiing, and his left ski caught in spring-like snow and he went over the handlebars and crashed hard,” said Monforte’s father, Sal. “It’s pretty tragic for Nico because he was skiing well.”
Monforte, a 2013 North Tahoe High grad, broke both the tibia and fibula in his lower left leg, his father said. He’s since undergone two surgeries — the first to realign and stabilize the bones with an external fixator, and the second to remove the fixator and insert an internal “nail,” or rod, the length of his tibia, secured by four screws.
He initially was flown off the mountain to a hospital in Sondrio, Italy, but has since been transported to Klinik Gut in St. Moritz, Switzerland, where he is recovering from his surgeries. Monforte has posted a number of updates to his Facebook fan page since the injury.
“Huge thanks to everybody for the support,” he wrote. “(It) has made it super easy to get through all this. Enjoy the spring skiing conditions at home, looks like it is back to summer weather.”
Despite missing the final two NorAm races, Monforte still finished sixth in the overall season standings.
“Am happy given the circumstances of the last few days,” Monforte posted. “Congrats to the boys on the podium! Was a long, hard-fought season.”
Monforte, a Squaw Valley skier who stood out as one of the most successful alpine racers in the Far West ranks, switched disciplines from alpine racing to skicross after attending a training camp at Mammoth with his cousin, Olympic skicross racer John Teller, near the end of the 2011 season.
He earned six World Cup starts this season and had recorded numerous top-10 finishes on the NorAm Tour.