The AT50: Adaptive Freeskier Josh Dueck (#38)

A paralyzing accident couldn't keep him grounded
Alpine Canada

Age: 32
Sports: Alpine skiing (sitting)
Highlights: Silver medalist at the 2010 Winter Paralympics in the men's slalom sit-ski event; gold at the X Games mono ski cross in 2011; First person to perform a backflip in a sit ski
Quote: "No matter how mad I get or how many tears I cry, it’s not going to change it. So f***. Lets’ get a grip and move forward."
Fact: Dueck prepared for three months for his sitting backflip.
AT50 Point Total: 35.5

Nine years ago, Canadian freeskier Josh Dueck misjudged a jump—he overshot the landing and fell 100 feet—and landed at a figurative crossroads. Lying in a hospital bed and paralyzed from the waist down, he could either accept his fate and give up on his passion (he was a top freesking coach), or find a way to get back into the mountains. It wasn't a hard choice.

Within a year, Dueck was back on the slopes he loved, learning to sit ski. Among other competition highlights, he won a silver medal in the men's slalom sit-ski at the 2010 Paralympics and took took gold in the 2011 X Games Mono Skier X event. But none of that compared to the freedom and sense of accomplishment Dueck felt last February when, against all odds, he "went upside-down" again, landing the first-ever sit-ski backflip. Dueck's courageous story and passion for skiing was documented in award-winning 2011 film The Freedom Chair, which continues to inspire viewers everywhere.
—Jessica Khorsandi

Click here to view The Active Times 50 slideshow.

Click here to return to The Active Times 50.

Let's Be Friends. Follow The Active Times on Facebook!

Most Recent

Step right up and enjoy the shore at these seaside spots
The trend of taking extreme selfies has become really dangerous