It was the very first race of this year's World Championships and Lindsey Vonn was confident of wresting back her Super-G title. Just five seconds in, the story went off script, and Vonn off course.
On the Schladming slopes on an arctic Austrian February afternoon, the American downhill Olympic champion's first jump on the course initially appeared to go to plan but, as she landed, her weight seemed to shift too far forward and her right knee buckled virtually to a right angle beneath her.
She skidded off the track and came to a rest 100 meters down the mountain, in a crumpled wreck in the snow, clutching her knee, her face twisted in agony before the rescue helicopter winched her up over the snow-dusted pine trees below, taking her to begin the slow and agonizing recovery process.
She has been open in that recovery process, tweeting pictures of the horrific state of her blackened and swollen knee in the aftermath of her operation, keeping her followers posted on the slow and steady nature of her recovery.
Less than seven months later in September, Vonn clipped back into her skis on the slopes of Portillo, Chile, to test the reconstructed knee, insisting "I can't tell which knee is injured" and that she was "skiing without fear."
Her plan is now to return to competitive skiing at the World Cup meeting in Beaver Creek, Colorado, from 29 November to 1 December.
The U.S. Ski Team, their physician Dr Bill Sterett, who performed surgery on Conn, and Athletes Special Projects at Red Bull, headed by Robert Trenwalder, have been at the heart of her recovery program.
The comeback goal has been all about the Olympics in Sochi in February 2014, one year after the injury.
"Lindsey is a fighter and having her goal always in mind, she did everything needed for her comeback," Trenkwalder told CNN. "She has mastered it outstandingly and she always knew that she couldn't do too much too early.
"But such a tremendous injury requires a very specific and well-co-ordinated rehab program. The U.S. Ski Team, Dr Bill Sterett and we at Red Bull did everything possible to create an ideal rehab environment for Lindsey."
Early in that recovery process, Red Bull published a picture of Vonn, her knee heavily strapped on a medical bed doing exercises with the caption "not letting obstacles stand in her way."
Her program involved a strict calendar of rehab measurements and physical training but the physical side of things was only half of the battle.
Returning to the slopes after crashing at high speed and with a potentially career-threatening injury can take some overcoming.
"The physical rebuild is absolutely essentially but it has to go in coordination with the rehab program," continued Trenkwalder. "For sure there is a mental aspect too, returning to the slopes can be a challenge.
"But when I saw Lindsey giving her comeback on skis in Chile, it was totally obvious that everything is totally fine. Skiing is her element and she was all smiles to be finally back on skis."
For all the positive noises from Vonn's camp, however, there is still a sense -- to a certain degree -- that she is skiing into the unknown in the ensuing weeks.
"We are on target and everything looks good now," added Trenkwalder. "However, I cannot read the future and returning to the peak depends on loads of different aspects."
For the superstar of world skiing, it is her first career-threatening injury. So just how does skier recover from those physical and mental wounds?
Perhaps there is no better person to ask than British skier Chemmy Alcott, who is in the midst of rehab from breaking her leg for the third time.
The first and most serious break dates back to December 2010 during a practice run at Lake Louise in Canada. It was a jump she had tackled 60 times, 59 of them correctly but this time things went awry... at 80mph.
On this occasion, she ended up with a multitude of fractured bones in her leg, she was strapped to a stretcher and attached to a helicopter.
The breaks were so severe that her ski boot liner became lodged inside her leg, the removed boot showing smashed bones and a torrent of blood as it was removed.
It was an injury that kept her out of competitive action for two years but amazingly she remained conscious throughout.
"Well, for one, I don't remember the crash," said Alcott, who similarly has opted not to watch it back. "I think that was my body's defense mechanism, to shut it out.
"I'm a very optimistic person and I don't need to see something that could be negative. There's nothing to be gained from reliving it."