The dream realized. After 14 years in the making, adaptive snowboarding has evolved into its own entity. Thanks to all the people and organizations that have pushed for this moment for over a decade. I made the pick for the U.S. Paralympics Snowboard National Team. So stoked!
Click below on the USP logo for the full article at: teamusa.org
It is the last day of the season at the Big in Whitefish, MT and I am not riding. My neck is stiff and my arm has a lack of sensation in various spots. I guess this is what happens when you try to flatten out the roller section of the course with your face. It didn’t work. I was able to pull myself together enough to take my third run and manage a 4th place finish.
I keep thinking about the sign on the ceiling during my x-rays that said, “consider this to be just another part of your alpine experience.” The truth of running boardercross is that it is not a matter of if you go down…it is a matter of when. This is true of all snowboarding; when you love it you just keep sending it.
US Paralympics will be announcing the national team picks in a few weeks. Cross your fingers!
After a 14 hour drive home from Big White in a packed team van, I had some restorative time yesterday…a little me time. It is amazing what a directional twin, a solo hike, and slushy spring corn snow can do for your soul. I love the competitive element of adaptive snowboarding but it is taxing. I leave for the US National Championships at 5a.m. tomorrow.
I have to give it up to the Canadians. This was the best boardercross course I have ever shredded. I loved the flow, the deep banked corners, and the table tops that are just big enough to scare you a bit. Check out this video from Big White.
The event was billed as one World Cup but it was actually two days of racing with two chances to gain IPC points. These points help determine a rider’s position on the US Team and if they make the team at all. Each athlete has three runs and the best two are combined to determine who wins.
On the first day of competition, I had the oddest run of my life. The jump at the finish line had a bad lip and it was sending riders in awkward directions. I gunned it off the jump and when I landed I buckled at the waist, kissed my boots, and spun an unintentional 180. Now riding switch, I headed toward the finish line. Then I clipped the gate about 1 foot in front of the line and was disqualified. This left me in 11th place for the day but as they say, “that’s racing.”
On day two of racing, things came together so much better for me. I had consistent times and good placement internationally. The results from these two days combined puts me 4th in the US and leaves me with a good chance of making Team USA!
After 13 years in organized sport, this unique group of individuals continues to blow my mind. I do not believe in much but I am intuitive enough to know when I have been blessed. Thanks for the good times people.
I am currently at the IPC Para-Snowboard World Cup at Big White B.C. The course is a series of deep banked corners and table top jumps. It is super fun and has so much flow that one turn has been dubbed ‘the toilet bowl’. Boardercross footage to come. I have had some technical difficulties with the camera. For now, enjoy some blower turns from back home in Montana.
Here I am at the end of this segment of an amazing adventure. At the second NorAm boardercross event in Copper Mountain, CO, I placed 4th in the US and 6th internationally. So excited about this! This puts me in good standing to be selected for US national team this spring. There is one more qualifying event in April. I also may be able to attend the World Cup in Canada come March. Cross your fingers!
While doing well in these competitions is awesome, I don’t feel as though I am competing for a spot on the podium, a medal, or the right to say I am the best. I feel like I am competing for the right to go on the next amazing adventure. By seeking the podium, I am able to go further… to experience more. The people I meet, the sick places to shred and the journey are the true prize.
Photo Credit: Kevin Westenbarger, Courtesy of Ottobock.
Here I am in Frisco, CO. Tired, ready for a day off snow, and to otherwise be out of motion. I have spent the last 2 days in a bus with my teammates traveling from the Paralympic qualifier in Tahoe to the next NorAm here in CO. Riding in this vehicle feels like you are standing in the galley of a ship for 28 hours straight.
At the US Paralympic NorAm Boardercross in Tahoe, I placed 4th in the US and 8th internationally. So stoked! My goal for this season is to step my riding up and to make the US national team selection in May. This event was a solid start. There are two more North American events to go before a national team is selected. This makes me a little nervous.
The whole experience in Tahoe was amazing. The BX course was fun with a lot of flow. The course timing system was great and event staff were very professional. Leave it to Brent Kuemmerle of the Tahoe Adaptive Competition Center run a flawless race and to book the event right next to the coolest bowling alley in California. Nice work, El Duderino!
The event in Tahoe was the largest gathering of adaptive snowboard competitors in world. Yes, it was a record at 51 athletes! For me, this is validation that the sport I adore has truly become successful. I define success as something that lives beyond your own efforts and beyond the contributions of others. I was standing at the top of the race course looking at dozens of foreign competitors and realized that I didn’t know any of them. They did this on their own. This is success. Adaptive snowboarding is now an entity within itself.
I am looking forward to the next event. Training starts the day after tomorrow.
Well folks, a super productive week. Stu Rea, of Team Utah, was out with us on Friday night at the Utah Olympic Park for BX training. Yes Stu, flat board, got it!
My custom BX race board will be here in the morning. I have to get it into Rennstall, a ski and snowboard tuning shop, for a base grind and a solid race tune before the first NorAm event in Tahoe on the 27th. Rennstall is like a honeyhole vortex of superior tuning, rad customer service and a shop that knows how to bro down. I have long thought that the soul of Park City had been drained out but this shop and the unique people they employ have proven me wrong. It is the kind of shop where if you are on the team, you are family. A high five, a thank you and a six pack of cold ones goes a long way. Word to Rennstall!
Check out the video of Friday night practice. Thanks and stay tuned!
Today, training was great. Thank you Ryan Enfield of Team Utah! You are an awesome BX coach. Super fun and constructive day.
After practice, I finally got some footage of the step down feature. There could be a feature like this in the NorAm events at the end of the month and a little hang time now will help me later. Please check out the GoPro photo of the jump and video of me gettin r done. Yes Dad, I bought some short term accident insurance.
The week in Utah has been awesome thus far. I have been enjoying the team environment. As said in my last post, it amazes me how being in an environment like this can raise the level of your own riding. It is about the people and how they vibe off of each other. Here are a few of my friends and teammates from Team Utah.
Dan Monzo, BKA rider
Denis Cole, BKA, Belgium’s finest
More on this monster to come. I just got a GoPro.
Lizzy Beerman, Team Utah Coach
Wesley Seybold, VI rider
Payday Run, Boring Wednesday afternoon, 60 – 65mph Hotlap Contest with, Denis, Talan, myself, and Talan’s GPS phone app. Talan won the contest.
Denis Cole and Serafim Pikalov, BKA and AKA shredders
Just ordered this custom BX deck from Donek Snowboards, I am so stoked to ride this little gem.
Four days back in Park City after three plus years of being gone. I used to work as an adaptive snowboard program manager creating both recreational freestyle camps and performance snowboard team programs. I did this work because I loved snowboarding and creating opportunities for adaptive riders that did not exist at the time. How cool it was to put a small group of people with disabilities into the same space and watch them blow the roof off of what was possible on a snowboard.
I have a vivid memory of a time at Windells Camp on Mount Hood in the summer of 2007 when Kieth Deutsch, an above-knee (AK) amputee ripper, threw down the first frontside 540 an AK had ever done. It completely blew my mind! That was what drove me as an organizer in the sport for so long. Creating space for athletes with disabilities to flourish.
After ten years of struggling with the lack of program support and the politics, I was burnt out and needed to back off of it. When I returned to my home turf in Montana, I rediscovered freeriding and the joy of being on the mountain. Riding without an agenda. Riding without the pressure. Riding like it was when I was 17 years old. So awesome. So relaxing. So free.
The last four days have been different here in Park City. It is a new paradigm for me. I am here with a new focus…attention driven towards my own riding, my own accomplishments and my own time on the snow. This is my opportunity to enjoy the structure that now exists under the hood of U.S. Paralympics and blow the roof off of my own riding. I am stoked to be riding with Team Utah and I think I am going to enjoy this.
Below: Kieth Deutsch at Windells 2007, Frontside 540
Well, here I am. 36 years old and still not giving it up. After 12 years, adaptive snowboarding made it into the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi Russia. I am 6 to 8 years older than some of the best riders in the U.S. and I don’t care. I am doing this.
Adaptive snowboarding was denied for the 2014 Paralympic Games in 2011. On May 2, 2012, they announced the inclusion of the sport. Much to my surprise and others.
The road thus far has not been easy. Financially strapped and overweight this fall from being pinned down to an office desk…I’ve had a lot of work to do. Today was my first day back in Park City to train with Team Utah. Super stoked!
Hello friends and fellow rippers! Adaptive Snowboarding, or Para-Snowboarding, has officially made it into the Paralympic Games, Sochi 2014. In 2000, I coordinated and competed in the first adaptive snowboard competition in the world with the United States of America Snowboard Association. Since that time, I have pursued this dream as an event organizer, coach, and competitive athlete. Now that the adaptive shred has made it to this pinnacle moment, I am shooting for a Para-Snowboard athlete position on the United States Paralympic Team for Sochi 2014. Please donate and help me achieve my goal of $6,000 for training and competition expenses for the 2012/13 winter season!
I cannot believe this day has come. Adaptive snowboarding has officially made it into the Paralympic Games. Travis Thiele gave me a call at 6:23a.m. on Wednesday morning. The voicemail stated, “Holy Sochi! Ohh my Heck, Lucas. We made it into the mother-lovin Paralympics, bro!” After filtering through all of the pseudo-dude-Travis-you-have-been-in-Utah-way-too-long-swear-words, I thought, “Holy S!#T, adaptive snowboarding is in the 2014 Paralympics!”
Is this the beginning of a dream or a continuation of the dream? For me, it is both. It is legitimacy. A respectful nod of the hat and a wag of the tail to a sport I love. It is a pinnacle moment. I have the feeling I am going to enjoy this.
Thanks to all of you who have contributed to this quest in the last few years. Keep up the good work.
The Original Gimp is gimpin’ out some new and unique services for the adaptive snowboard community. Check out the “Gun for Hire” page for Facilitation Packages that are designed to accent existing programs within your organization and for hosting large groups of clientèle. I also am available for personalized adaptive snowboard event hosting, visual impairment guiding, and coaching.
Hello friends and fellow rippers!
Adaptive Snowboarding, or Para-Snowboarding, has officially made it
into the Paralympic Games, Sochi 2014. In 2000, I
coordinated and competed in the first adaptive snowboard competition
in the world with the United States of America Snowboard Association.
Since that time, I have pursued this dream as an event organizer,
coach, and competitive athlete. Now that the adaptive shred has made
it to this pinnacle moment, I am shooting for a Para-Snowboard
athlete position on the United States Paralympic Team for Sochi 2014.
Please donate and help me achieve my goal of $6,000 for training and competition expenses for the 2012/13 winter season! To Donate Go To: Original Gimp Snowboard Athlete Donations!