For Bend’s Laurenne Ross, it was simply the right time.
After a gritty career defined by injuries and dramatic comebacks, Ross announced her retirement from World Cup alpine skiing Thursday through her social media.
“From the community to the thrills, the injuries and pain, the sights, the flow, the love and the growth, I’m so grateful for every single part of my adventure through ski racing,” Ross posted on Instagram and Facebook. “It feels like I’m about to lose an enormous part of myself, but I am comforted by the gut feeling that ‘it’s time.’”
Ross, 32, overcame several major knee injuries throughout her career, as well as a shattered pelvis, shoulder dislocations, a hip tear, bulging discs and severe ankle sprains.
She said her final race will be at the U.S. Championships that conclude next week in Aspen, Colorado.
Ross is a two-time Olympian who raced the downhill at both the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics, her top finish 11th at the Sochi Games. She also made two World Cup podiums and was fifth in the downhill at the World Championships in 2017.
In 2016, Ross finished eighth in the World Cup standings in super-G and 10th in downhill.
In 2017, she finished ninth in downhill in the standings.
Ross, who mainly competed in the speed events, made a grueling comeback from a devastating right knee injury in March 2017 to qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, where she finished 15th in both the downhill and super-G.
But in February 2019, she crashed during a downhill training run at the World Championships in Sweden and injured her left knee.
Ross said she briefly pondered retirement then, but eventually made the decision to just take the entire 2019-20 season off.
Then she reinjured the left knee during giant slalom training in November 2020. She returned in January of this year for her final World Cup races, placing 23rd for her final finish on the circuit.
“What a joy it has been to fly freely down the mountain,” Ross posted on her social media. “Through gates, over jumps, in the wild; letting go of any sense of control. There is no other place I will find such wonderful presence and flow, and I will miss that feeling dearly. I owe it all to the people who’ve supported me along my journey: family, coaches, friends, supporters, fans, sponsors. Thank-you, from the bottom of my heart.
“I am fulfilled with what I’ve experienced, and am ready to let go of the ‘what ifs’ and untapped potential. It’s like I’m standing in the start gate of a course I’ve never raced on before.”
Ross was born in Edmonton, Alberta, but grew up in Klamath Falls. She raced for the Bend-based Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation as a youth.
Ross, who recently earned her bachelor’s degree in art from the University of Oregon, moved to Bend about 10 years ago.