Adaptive Snowboarders Storm Mt. Hood
By Aaron Schultz
At first glance, they look like your average snowboarders. They slide rails, ride the half pipe, float over kickers and trench their carves. But these are no ordinary shreds. One is missing most of her leg, another his vision and the third can’t walk. With the help of a scholarship from the National Ability Center (NAC) these three athletes attended Windells during session one to work on their half pipe and park skills and challenge the definition of snowboarding.
Chris Slavin, 38, from Ipswich, MA lost the use of her legs in a snowboarding accident a year ago and a half ago. During this camp Slavin used a sit-ski and a pair of out riggers – two ski poles with small skis on the bottom of the pole – to help her balance. During the session she learned to slide boxes and was determined to get out of the half pipe, which she did on the last day.
Joey Martinez, 26, from Austin, TX was in an IED explosion in Iraq and now his vision is slowly fading. Currently he can see only a few feet and even then only blurry silhouettes of people and objects. But a person would never know Martinez is legally blind but still stomped boardslides and backside 180s all day.
Nicole Roundy, 22 from Park City, UT is a rider for the Park City Snowboard team. She lost her leg to cancer when she was eight. Up until a few years ago prosthetic knee technology was not advanced enough for people with an amputated leg to freestyle snowboard with any proficiency. With the help of a new type of prosthetic knee, the XT-9, and unmatched determination Roundy not only learned to ride, but was seen stomping nose presses on Windell’s fun boxes.
Props must be given to Windells coach Adam Anderton and the NAC’s Snowboard Program Manager Lucas Grossi. Without Anderton’s creative coaching and laid back style these athletes would not have progressed as quickly. Grossi is the man behind the curtain making sure the campers get to the hill on time, their equipment keeps working and everybody keeps smiling. Grossi knows about adaptive riding first hand because he also uses a prosthetic leg to ride.
For more information about programs for adaptive snowboarders please visit the National Ability Center at www.discovernac.org or contact Lucas Grossi at [email protected]