It’s been a while since Byron Wells has sported a summer tan.
“I’m looking forward to some hot weather. I haven’t had a full year in Wanaka since I was ten-years-old so yeah I can’t wait to spend a bit of time here.”
That’s a massive change of attitude for the halfpipe skier who’s usually fixated on snow, while chasing winter around the world.
But the 26-year-old hasn’t been on skis since shattering his right knee in a heart-breaking accident as he trained ahead of the halfpipe final at the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.
“I’ve been off crutches for about a month now but the extent of what I can do is walk. The knee’s feeling okay but it’s in that limbo stage of still hurting quite a bit when I try and do anything in the gym.”
Above: Wells being treated following his injury
The broken knee saw Wells stretchered off the mountain while his brother Beau-James, and teammate Nico Porteous, went on to contest the final, in which Porteous won bronze.
It’s the latest in a string of serious injuries for the athlete who was also forced to withdraw from the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games due to a leg injury.
“My plan now is to take the winter season off and just cruise and have a full year in Wanaka off snow and get the body feeling good again.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been at 100% so I’m going to take it slow and get really fit and strong and get some stoke back.”
That’ll see Wells back on snow mid 2019 and he’s revealed it was either that or give up the sport altogether.
“Right after surgery I was ready to quit, it was a traumatic experience, but after giving it lots of thought I decided I can still compete with the best and I want to give it one more shot and see what I can do.”
The Wanaka local is determined to be at his best for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
“I will be back and I plan on going to another Olympic Games and making the Olympics mine. I’ve had two bad experiences there so I’m ready to go the whole way through and show the world what I can do.”PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games Byron Wells