After sustaining ACL and meniscus tears in both knees simultaneously in 2017, Ali was determined to prove that the comeback really is greater than the setback. Perfectly healthy up until that point, she said that, “it was a blessing in disguise. If I had known what was ahead, it would have been a lot harder.” Her perspective paid off as she took her recovery month-by-month, staying extremely tuned in to her body’s needs. The total rehab period kept her off snow for eleven months — a longer ACL recovery than most people. But while her decision to, “make sure I was really healthy and could ski 100%,” might not seem like a surprise, it came with its own emotional tax. “Mentally during that time I wasn’t really sure who I was. I had only ever really been a skier,” she says, looking back. Another mental hurdle she tackled was getting back on snow altogether, “I was nowhere near where I was. It took almost a full season to get back to where I was and then another season to get back to racing at the level I wanted to.”
However her patience and perseverance paid off tenfold. By the end of the 2022 season, Ali had moved from 28th to 11th in the World Cup standings — and she picked up a slew of wisdom, saying “I learned a lot along the way, mentally and physically, and I’m grateful for that.” Something that especially stood out to her is just how valuable that time on snow really is to her. “I made a goal during my injury to take advantage of time on snow,” she reflects. Looking back at the 2022 season overall, Ali feels she is most proud of her overall mindset shift: “At the beginning of the season I was very focused on results. I knew what results I wanted to get and I believed that I could get them, but I was so focused on crossing the finish line and having the result, that made it even harder.” In December she took a step back and pivoted to focus on the technical quality of her skiing, rather than where she wanted to be, and she feels it turned her season around.
She attributes much of her 2022 success to taking control of her career and pushing for what she needed out of her training, which opened the door for more growth. “I grew it alot and I think it played a role in my ability to stand in the start gate and be confident and ready for each race,” says Ali.
“I have worked so hard just to get back here and I appreciate all the work that others have invested in me. For me to compete in the World Cup circuit this year, improve my rank to 11th, make World Cup finals, and represent Canada in the 2022 Olympics Games was a dream come true!” she said.