A new film by Ryan Flett Media showcases Kootenay free skier Trace Cooke the physical challenges he endures as a pro skier.

Trace Cooke is at a crossroads in his professional ski career. After years of competing and pushing his body to the limit, he is getting injured and not recovering like he used to. Last September, Trace underwent his first knee surgery and he realized that he would have to change his mental and physical game if he wanted to continue his path as a pro skier.

The five-minute film “In Recovery” documents the steps that Trace is taking so he can continue to chase his passion. By focusing on his mindset and holistic health, Trace believes he can become a better version of himself through commitment, hard work and having a better understanding of his boundaries. We caught up with Ryan Flett, who created the film, to ask about the creation process and his own battle with injuries.

Hey Ryan, great work on this film. What was the inspiration?

Both Trace and I have had injuries and surgeries to our knees from skiing so we wanted to shed light on health and performance for pro skiers and creatives. In our own lives, it took us a long time to realize the best way to remedy our bodies and prep mentally for the punishment we put ourselves through in the pursuit of our passions. We want to help the younger generation from making the same mistakes we did.

What was one of the most fun moments from the filming?

We were lucky to get a lot of sunny shooting days and we were able to fly my drone in places I hadn’t flown around Whitewater before. The backcountry around Whitewater has so much variety and it was fun to showcase it from the air.

What was the biggest challenge?

Injuries were the biggest challenge, not for Trace but myself. I have tweaked my meniscus in my right knee a few times this season, I sustained a small shoulder injury, and I displaced a rib a couple weeks ago. I think I need to take the message in the episode much more to heart.

How long have you known Trace?

I first met Trace a few years ago but I had seen him skiing at Whitewater as a little kid when I was in high school. Last season was the first season we shot images together and we clicked right away. We decided this year to exclusively film with each other and create a web series, something which I had not done before.

You ever endure injuries you’ve had to come back from?

I’ve had two knee surgeries on my ACL and meniscus, one in 2012 and the other in 2018. After the second knee surgery, I took steps to significantly improve my lifestyle by shifting my diet, joining a group gym, and seeing health practitioners for both my physical and mental health

Lots of Whitewater in the trailer. Did you film anywhere else?

We filmed all the skiing in the backcountry of Whitewater. We also filmed with acupuncturist Chris Mansbridge and at Maverick Fitness. Both Trace and I are members at Maverick and see Chris for treatments.

Any advice for kids thinking of getting into free ride?

Having ski talent is essential, but what happens behind the scenes may be more important. Focusing on exercising, stretching, eating healthy, and combating negative thoughts will help athletes and creatives to perform at their highest level while taking steps to prevent injuries improve their mindset.