In 2016, U.S. Freeski team rider Colby Stevenson fell asleep at the wheel.
The resulting crash was nothing short of life-changing. Stevenson, 24, suffered a “midline shift,” a form of traumatic brain injury in which impact, swelling, or both caused his brain to shift laterally several millimeters. The crash heavily affected his motor function and memory, and a full recovery was unlikely.
But, miraculously, Stevenson regained coordination and was cleared to try skiing again. But it remained uncertain whether his vertigo would hold up to skiing — and if his brain had the capacity for muscle memory.
In the 2020-2021 winter season, Stevenson’s perseverance and luck carried him back to the X Games. It also carried him to a gold medal at the Dew Tour this past weekend. Watch his journey in “Nerve,” a short, eye-opening film by fellow freeskier Clayton Vila.
Runtime: 9 minutes