Imagine waking up to 17 inches of fresh powder and then getting to the mountain in time to snag first chair. Seconds from dropping in, you eye an untouched powder stash near a cliff band and you’re stoked for the surge of adrenaline that’s sure to follow. Rather than thinking about torn ligaments and medical costs, you pull the ripcord and go for it. Unfortunately, your ski catches on a covered clump of rocks and, before you can utter a four-letter word, you’re on the ground waiting for patrol.
Meet Elle Truax. After 24 years of skiing sans ligament tears, Elle experienced her first season-ending injury on New Year’s Eve of last year. She tore her ACL at the start of what turned out to be the beginning of a two-week-long storm cycle that hit the West Elk Mountains and surrounding areas. Colorado’s winter was off to a dreamy start, and she was off to the operating room.
Spot made a sh*t situation less sh*tty
Elle underwent an ACL graft, followed by a long recovery with multiple rounds of rehab. While she was heartbroken to see her winter ski plans and goals slip away in an instant, she was grateful to have Spot. “It was comforting to know that, at the very least, I wouldn’t drown in medical bills while also dealing with the physical and mental pain of an injury. My monthly premiums are horrific, half the things I need aren’t even covered and my deductible is through the roof. Spot covered so many of the bills that my insurance wouldn’t—it’s almost too good to be true.”
Elle is hardly alone. When injuries like this happen, many of us have no idea what we’ll owe in medical bills or what our insurance will actually cover. Spot took away some of that financial uncertainty and gave Elle the peace of mind she needed to focus fully on her recovery. “Spot had my back every step of the way, and I didn’t have to worry about every financial transaction I made related to my injury.”
Making the most of recovery… while making hats
Elle was on the sidelines longer for her torn ACL than any other injury she’s experienced. As bummed as she was, she was thankful to have alternative outlets and passions to focus on during her rehab, as well as the opportunity to keep growing in other areas of her life. Instead of dwelling on the negatives, she poured her energy into focusing on her health goals, spending more time with friends and family, channeling her frustrations in the gym, raising her puppy Nora and growing her business, Björkstam Hat Co. Launched in 2020, Björkstam is a custom western hat shop that started in Elle’s garage and quickly grew into a brick and mortar shop on Elk Avenue in downtown Crested Butte.
Elle was able to start focusing more of her time and energy into Björkstam about two weeks after surgery. She had to close the shop for a bit following her surgery, but she was glad that Spot eased some of her financial worries. “It was really helpful knowing that I wouldn't be in loads of medical debt even though we had to close during those initial weeks.”
Getting back out there
It’s been three months since Elle’s surgery and she’s happy to report that she’s feeling strong. She recently started road and gravel cycling again and plans to get back into mountain biking, trail running and kitesurfing this summer.
As for next ski season? She’s stoked to get back on the hill and is looking forward to pursuing the things she had to put on pause this past year—including a girls’ ski trip to Japan in January.
While she knows she’ll feel as confident as ever once she gets back on skis, she’s being smart about her return. Rather than push it to the max right away—and risk getting hurt again—she plans to slowly ease into things… even if she feels 100% physically capable.
As tough as the recovery was on Elle, a silver lining is that it proved to her that she can push through challenges—she’s driven by the desire to get back out there doing the activities that make her feel most alive.
“It’s deep down in your heart and mind that you find the drive and passion to push through the challenge. Tell yourself you’ll come sprinting out the other side, bursting at the seams because you’re so excited to get back out there. I’ve got this and so do you.”
Spot was founded by avid skiers, cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts who noticed major gaps in traditional insurance—like high healthcare costs and deductibles—that keep so many of us from doing the activities we love. These gaps inspired us to offer coverage that’s easily accessible and protects you so you can keep doing the things you love most.
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