Windells’ last session was hit by a new crew this year. Instead ofbeing noticed by how bright their pants were or their new 6X talls,they were noticed for shredding their asses off while missing legs.Adaptive Action Sports, a nonprofit for athletes with physical disabilities, coordinated with Windell’s to bring in a crew of riders for a session of sun and shredding on Mt. Hood.
One of the things that makes this group so special is that three of the five riders are above the knee amputees. This may not sound like a big deal, but knees are a really hard thing to recreate. Thanks to a prosthesis called the XT9, above the knee amputees are finally able to snowboard. Like Kieth Deutsch, a 23 year old Colorado local who just lost his leg two years ago while fighting in Iraq. He’s down to ride park, even though he prefers “hiking to pow in the backcountry”. He was spotted landing half-cabs and frontside 360’s on the 20-foot jump despite having to re-attach his leg from an earlier fall.
Another inspiring rider in the group is Adil Latif, a 100% blind rider from Scotland who will charge laps, hit rails and even hike the pipe for an afternoon. He has a navigator who rides behind him and communicates the slope ahead via a headset radio that they both wear. Then in the park, he has the coaches walk him over the rails before they line him up and let him hit them. There’s nothing like watching a blind person 50-50 a fifteen-foot long box to make you stop bitchin’ about that scratch in your lens.
Although these are huge accomplishments, there is still along way to go for the Prosthesis they use. The XT9 has a strong shock in place of the knee, but they have limited control over the amount of bend in it. Motivating to say the least, this group of riders really makes you appreciate what you have. How can you be bummed about your sore knee when the guy who just dropped doesn’t even have one? However, their real goal is to let other amputees know that they can still lead full, active lives despite losing a limb.
For more information about adaptive snowboarding visit Adaptive Action Sports at www.adaptiveactionsports.org and contact Lucas Grossi at email@example.com