I have owned this site name for a while and intended to create a blog eventually, as I have been skiing on roosters for the last 25+ years. Due to high public demand, I created this site to chronicle my life as an adaptive athlete. As of now I am a T12 incomplete Paraplegic and use a wheelchair and other adaptive toys to get around. I intend to show that no matter what life deals you, it is still possible to get out and enjoy life, and even be competitive as an athlete again. This site will show me doing such things as skiing, cycling, fishing, adventuring and other things in order to stay healthy and enjoy life!
Check out my BLOG pages to see what I am up to, and while you are at it, poke around the rest of the site as well. I’ll have tales of my recovery, gear reviews, trip reports, and all kinds of other bits of info.
For the last 25 years, I have dedicated myself to ski racing. I raced Nordic in High School and then skied for the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. I started Coaching Junior Nordic skiing in college and continued for many years. After college, I raced semi-professionally for Rossignol, and traveled the country to many ski races. It was in 1999 that I was hired by Rossignol to Promote Nordic skiing in the USA and for 5 years, I also ran our Nordic Athlete Support programs, where I took care of athletes from the US Ski Team down to talented juniors. I also coach with a local junior club program in Alaska, and we have had many junior and senior national champions in the last few years and have been named Nordic Club of the year by USSA more than once. My job as a State Park Ranger helped me to promote skiing in Alaska, by getting the public excited about being outdoors and staying active. I recently won a large federal trails grant to widen and improve the quality of the Nordic trails in one of our Parks.
I was working to keep these trails safe by removing dead and broken trees from the trail, when I was crushed by one of the leaning trees that we were preparing to remove. My accident happened on Nov 18, 2010, and I was supposed to go to West Yellowstone the next day… I was working for Alaska State Parks clearing some leaning and hazard trees off of one of our ski trails in preparation to start grooming. It was what they call a “widow maker” with the top half of the tree broken off and blocking the ski trail. We were going to put straps on it and tow it down with snowmobiles. so I make a cut on the main trunk and that is where things went bad. the main tree trunk broke off of the stump and hit the ground. The top part broke off the trunk, and pushed the trunk at me like a flyswatter. I got hit across the shoulders and driven into the ground like a fencepost. I saw the trunk crack and bolted. I made it 18′ down my escape path before the tree caught me. I dislocated my back at T12-L1, I smashed the L1 vertebra and broke several of the spines off of my back, I severely pinched my spinal cord and was paralyzed from the waist down. For non CNS injuries, I broke one scapula in half, severely dislocated my other shoulder, broke a chunk off of a Molar tooth, dislocated several ribs and collapsed a lung. I was pretty beat up, but conscious the whole time and got my partner to cut the tree off of me, grab my radio and call in the Calvary. They got me back to the trailhead in a rescue snowmobile sled and then life-flighted me in a chopper to the hospital.
After 3 weeks of ICU and a couple of weeks in recovery, I moved to Craig Hospital in Denver for 3 months to do spinal cord injury (SCI) rehab and learn how to live again. It is a great place and the staff got me back to being a real person able to take care of myself. Life is very different being in a wheelchair, but I am still above ground and still have my wits and dogs with me. I am glad I was hurt while working and not while cutting firewood (our main heat source), as the insurance has paid for all of my medical bills and “helped” remodel the house.
I am doing pretty well these days. I am back in Anchorage and living in my (mostly) wheelchair friendly house… I posted about my recovery in a couple of places, but the TGR ski forums had the best response. I am so happy for the support I got from mostly complete strangers. If you care to track my recovery in a pre- www.RoosterSkier.com world, you can read HERE and HERE
My work with Rossignol and my passion for skiing is part of what keeps me motivated in PT and other rehab. So far so good. I was pretty beat up from the tree, but am gaining back my strength and flexibility. I have worked hard for Rossignol and I have gotten to travel to large ski events around the country and help a TON of people get excited about being outside over the years, and I hope to do more of that in the future. Rossignol skis kept me on in working for them and I am happy to know they believe I can still spread the stoke of skiing!
This site is an attempt to show that world that you can still get out there and enjoy the outdoors, even if there are a few physical challenges along the way. Please consider becoming involved in the events I will plan in the future. Being in a wheelchair is not the end, this is just a new beginning.
THE BIRD IS BACK!!!
I am the RoosterSkier and I am back getting out there in the world!