NOTHING IS FIXED / HADLEY HAMMER’S STORY
With renewed focus, freeskier Hadley Hammer finds motivation to overcome injury.
The mornings are quiet. Deliberate, contemplative silence.
Hadley Hammer spends the first part of her morning in silence. Meditation in the morning is Hadley’s calming center piece. When you’re a professional freeskier who spends her days balancing time in the gym, filming in the backcountry, volunteering for local non-profits, and taking training laps in the Tetons above her home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, you better believe a focused mind plays more than a significant role.
Riding the razor edge of control and catastrophe wasn’t ever the plan for Hadley. She grew up in Wyoming in a ski family, but she never imagined she’d become a pro athlete. It wasn’t even on the radar. While one of her brothers was training on the US ski team, Hadley packed up and moved across the country to attend school at the University of New Hampshire studying hospitality before making her way to Washington D.C. where she studied to become a sommelier.
That was the way forward for Hadley. Passionate about food and cooking, Hadley imagined a career in the hospitality industry that could feed her outdoor lifestyle and deliver some occupational success. Eventually though, Hadley’s perception of success and happiness became clearer, and the draw of big city life faded. Disenchanted, Hadley moved home to Wyoming and found a job at one of the high-end ski resorts in Jackson Hole. But when her brother noticed the toll city life had taken on her, he invited her to come train with him and other pros to get stronger and breathe life back into her mountain soul.
As it turns out, her long history of snowsports, willingness to sacrifice, and sheer stubbornness is the perfect recipe for freeskiers. Soon she was invited to join the Freeride World Tour competition circuit. She signed off from her “career” job to dedicate all to her time skiing and training, and before too long was competing with the best there was on the world stage. A new path, with the same relentless commitment and focus was now in place. A path that continued to feed her soul with personal and professional success. A path on that razor edge that found her strong, confident, and charging...until it didn’t. Then there was the injury. A devastating injury. One that left Hadley with a double surgery on her shoulder. That positioned her in a wheelchair for over a month and needing full support for daily functions. It put into perspective the danger, the risk, and the sacrifices required by this new path. It took her to a dark place, a contemplative place where she was forced to consider where her life was taking her as she recovered and healed. But support of her friends, her family, her community that encouraged the new path in the first place gave Hadley strength. Strength in her resolve to come back stronger than ever.
Which is why the mornings are so quiet. Picturing herself doing what she loves at the highest level. That skiing was the picture that comes to mind was scarcely a question, but that practice provided a firm foundation for her acceptance of the continued path forward.
With a renewed focus, Hadley found motivation and purpose through the community around her. You can’t separate the two, her friends and family and skiing. The experiences they share together makes her dogged pursuit that much richer, that much more fulfilling. And in the quiet of the morning, before breakfast, before lift lines or long skins, before turns in fresh powder or eyeing the perfect line, before everything, Hadley closes her eyes. Present and centered with whatever the days path offers, she opens them.