Freeskier Josh Dueck was only 23 years old when he overshot a front flip off a jump at Silver Star, B.C., his home mountain, in 2004. He came to in the hospital to find that he was paralyzed from the waist down, never to ski—traditionally, at least—again. But that wouldn’t stop him. Not even close. Nine months later Dueck was back on the slopes in a sit-ski, which he called his freedom chair. (Dueck was the subject of a 2011 documentary, The Freedom Chair, which won Best Mountain Sports Film at the Banff Film Festival last year.) By 2007 he had collected three Canadian championship titles. In 2010 he added Olympic silver to his accolades at the Paralympic Games in Whistler, then went on to pull off a gold at the 2011 Winter X Games and a bronze at last month’s 2012 X Games. Setting his sights on landing the first-ever sit-ski backflip, Dueck trained at Colorado’s Woodward at Copper, practicing on the airbag at Whistler, and finally attempted it on the copious snow at Powder Mountain Snowcats, outside of Whistler. Dueck’s determination and athleticism is truly inspiring. See his backflip here.
Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press