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Uncharacteristically, Picabo Street is sitting quietly. She’s been talking nonstop for 45 minutes¿about her new gig at Park City Mountain Resort, where she was recently named director of skiing; about Park City’s new Legacy youth program, which this season will introduce some 4,400 Utah kids to the slopes via free night-skiing lessons; about her new house in Park City. But the subject of her postinjury return to the slopes¿scheduled for November 17¿has just been broached, and now she’s a 50-caliber machine gun smoldering in silence as new ammo is loaded. “I’m like a tiger, man,” she says finally. “I’m walkin’ back and forth in the cage with my nose right on the crack.”
Her angst and anticipation are understandable. In the 21 months since her devastating post-Nagano crash, Picabo, 28, has had her left femur bolted together with an eight-and-a-half-inch metal plate, her right ACL replaced with a graft from her patellar tendon, and her future called into question by just about every ski-racing pundit on the planet.
But she’s gotten over the worst of it, and her desire to ski again is intense. Still, the earliest she expects to race in competition is the U.S. Alpine Championships at Jackson Hole in March; she plans to rejoin the World Cup fray in ’00¿’01. As for 2002: “I’m not giving up the chance to race in the Olympics in my home country,” she says. We’ll be psyched to have her back.