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Posted by on February 15th, 2012

Holy Dyna! The start of 2012 has been a blitzkrieg of awesomeness . . .

By now though you’ve probably heard the great news — you know, I’ve had this dream since I was first laid up in the hospital nearly eight years ago to do a backflip in my sit ski. With countless hours of training and preparation and with help from a group of good friends (professional skiers) who prepped the jump site for me, I was able to realize my dream on February 3rd — I nailed a backflip at Whistler!

The process to bring the flip to snow began awhile back in the foam pits at Woodward at Copper Mountain. I met up with Nick Bass — who’s a very accomplished aerialist and jumping coach — and it was then we both knew it could be done.

The next stop was the terrain park at Blackcomb to practice this trick into an airbag. Our practice and preparation paid off huge. We figured out the best jump shape, speed, and all the other details we thought were important. I really wanted to take this into the backcountry and try it on snow right away, but Mother Nature did not allow. Conditions were snowy, windy, and foggy, which made it too dangerous to try. We had to put the project on hold.

Next, it was off to the X Games down in Aspen. This trip is probably my favourite competition all winter. I love being right in the mix with all the other sports and athletes — watching everyone throw down is so inspirational and gets me super charged up.

They toned down the Skier Cross course this year to make sure everyone was going to be able to go fast and put on a good show for TV — and that’s exactly what happened. It was probably the best finals heat our sport has ever showcased. I’m so happy for my good friend Samson who took home the gold . . . and for me, a bronze finish is a mighty fine accomplishment.

Josh Dueck X Games

Huge air in the Mono Skier X Final. That’s me at the top right.

Another highlight was getting to attend the Powder Video Awards. I’d just found out before heading to the party that “Freedom Chair” had been nominated for best documentary. We gave it no chance of winning considering the other films we were up against. Imagine our surprise when they announced our film . . . we were completely stunned.

Lacey and Josh

Lacey and me at the PVA award ceremony.

Then it was back home to catch up on some routine business. I was home for less than 48 hours when the crew from Switchback Entertainment called and said the weather in Whistler was going to be sunny, and that Powder Mountain Catskiing was willing to build me a perfect jump to attempt the backflip.

I knew it was the right time and place to overcome my fear and do something awesome. Coming down the approach I felt a sense of calm and confidence. I’ll let the video tell the rest of the story . . .

Josh Dueck becomes the first person to execute a back flip on a sit ski

All of the elements were in place. It took a lot of training and preparation to get to this moment.

Nailing the back flip was such a great feeling — total freedom!

The response to the video has been insane. It’s all good — for the sport and for anyone desiring to overcome challenges and obstacles in their life. This could also open up a new avenue for the sport, which would be great.

In racing . . . my 2012 season began with a quick trip to Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, for the U.S. Para-Alpine Championships. I had a chance to test myself against the best riders in North America and it went pretty well — in four races I earned four silver medals. There was pretty much a new winner every day, which was nice to see. For me, I kept making little mistakes, which kept me in the hunt but out of the top spot. It left me hungry for the next set of races in mid-February.

Canadian Para-alpine Ski team

Showing off the results of all our hard work – members of the Canadian Para-alpine Ski Team racked up 12 podiums at Waterville.

I’m off to LA to have a little chat with Ellen. The episode with my segment airs Wednesday, February 15. Then I’m straight back into racing on Thursday at my old stomping grounds in Kimberley B.C. Here’s some footage from last year’s race.

Enjoy the moments in life and see y’all back here soon. Thanks for reading…


Posted by on January 17th, 2012

Happy NEW YEAR! I hope that everyone was able to enjoy life’s simple pleasures over the holidays, and taste a bit of the magic that comes along with the festivities.

Since I last dropped in on ye old blog I’ve done some racing down in Colorado, a full overhaul on my sit ski, a handful of presentations, traveled to Revelstoke and Victoria, and got a few great days of skiing in my own backyard. My holidays were great but my time at home was brief.

Colorado in December is one of my most favourite places to be. The snow is usually good, and pretty much everyone is down there; from the Para Alpine racers to all the freestylers doing the Dew Tour — it’s like a big ol’ reunion.

Josh Dueck GS2 race

GS2 race, Copper Mountain, Colorado.

It was a frantically busy trip to Colorado with a solid week of training prior to the races, followed by four straight races (2xGS and 2xSL). Our whole team did very well and I’m happy to say I won three gold and one bronze medal, a great start to the season.

I also had a chance to spend some time in the foam pits at Woodward at Copper and practice doing some flips in my sit ski! The foam pit is the first step of progression to bring that backflip onto the snow one day.

Even though I’m at the forefront of the progression of my sport, I always keep safety in mind. It’s important to recognize and follow a plan when developing new ideas and skills. The next phase of this chapter of training includes lots of practice on an airbag, and then if everything is aligned we’ll try a flip on the snow. Small steps and lots of training/practice are the keys to safe progression in any sport or job.

Returning home for the holidays was a treat, especially since I always put off Christmas shopping off until the last minute. I literally started my shopping at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve. I got lucky with my shopping, and enjoyed a most wonderful and relaxing Christmas with the family . . . it was nice.

The rest of my holidays were spent overhauling my sit ski to ensure it can handle the big jumps and high speeds in the months ahead. I also spent time working on my website, JoshDueck.com. I’m so damn excited for the season ahead and I’m really looking forward to being able to share it with you via my webpage. It’s gonna be rad.

Josh Dueck

An early Christmas present from a friend on the Canadian Para-alpine Ski Team.

Revelstoke was next on my list of places to be. I had a chance to go to a classic ski bar and do a presentation on behalf of my favourite foundation, Liveit! Loveit!. This organization is close to my heart, and to be able to share the love and promote empowerment through sport with my good friends is the best feeling. Thanks to Izzy and Zoya Lynch for making this happen, and to all the people for coming out and supporting the cause.

After Revelstoke, it was back to Vernon for a couple of days. I spent some time up at the “Star” riding with friends during the day, and spending my evenings downtown at the Best of Banff Film Festival. It’s always great to take in all of the spectacular films that are being showcased. If you love the outdoors and haven’t been to the festival it’s an absolute must. The “Freedom Chair” played both nights. To see the reaction of the home crowd was amazing — I’m honored and flattered by the support of the community.

Off to Victoria for New Year’s Eve with my lovely lady and some friends. We went to Atomic Vaudeville, the most eclectic production I’ve ever seen — it was a cross between Monty Python and SNL gone completely insane. Brilliant show and a completely ridiculous way to ring in the New Year. However, the purpose of going to Victoria was to meet with the folks at the McCoppin Institute of Learning, to discuss working together in the future. The meeting went so well that we started to design a forum that both Lacey and I can facilitate together — such an awesome concept considering she’s been an integral part to writing the story known as my life.

New Hampshire license plate

This personalized New Hampshire license plate says it all.

After Victoria I made it back home for a night to unpack and repack, and have a sit down for a community dinner with our neighbors. The following day I caught a flight to Montreal and drove down to New Hampshire for the U.S. Championships. I’m excited for an opportunity to ski fast and test my mettle against some of the top racers in the world.

Stay tuned for all the results, and stories from my upcoming adventures to Whistler and Aspen.


Posted by on December 15th, 2011

The last part of November was dedicated to some high intensity training with the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team in Nakiska, and Panorama. It was probably one of the best camps I’ve had in quite some time, despite the bitter cold that is common in these places at this time of year.

We focused the majority of our time testing and experimenting with some new ideas to make the sit ski perform even better than it already does. I’m not at liberty to divulge the details of what we were playing around with — but let me say that the changes we made will open up a new world of possibilities. In a sport where we measure in increments of time we noticed exponential gains.

We’re hoping to get this new prototype on the market fairly soon so that it can create new opportunities for aspiring world champions, freeskiers, and first-time skiers alike. Stay tuned. As an interesting side note, Nakiska is an international hub for early season training for some of the greatest able-bodied skiers in the world. I had the pleasure of training alongside one of the greatest of all time, Didier Cuche. I couldn’t resist introducing myself to him, and after chatting for a little bit he asked me if I could ski powder in my sit ski. I immediately showed him the Freedom Chair, and he was super impressed. He invited me for dinner and we spent most of the night talking about the future of both our sports. Didier’s an amazing athlete, a champion amongst champions.

After two weeks of solid training with the team I made my way back home for a week of rest and rejuvenation. Nothing beats hanging out with friends and family, and enjoying the simple pleasures in life like cooking, and taking my best bud Rome to the dog park.

Rome and I enjoy some time together before the first snowfall arrives.

I also had some great days in with m’lady at home, doing yoga, and riding up at my mountain. We lucked out and got an unusually good day for early season, which was a great way to start things off.

Living the dream with my girl.

Early season is a funny thing for me though. I usually have around 30 days of race training under my belt when the local hills are just opening, so when I get home all I want to do is shred so hard! But often, early season comes with plenty of hazards like exposed stumps, rocks, and terrain that haven’t filled in yet.

It’s so hard for me to gear down and ski smart, especially when I’m so amped for the winter ahead. I got caught being a little cheeky on opening day of the backside. I was running a bit too hard and landed on a stump, breaking my ski, and narrowly avoided disaster. Strong reminders that every run of every day is filled with challenges and hazards, and to properly assess the environment before dropping in. You simply have to respect the mountains no matter how many times you’ve ridden them.

Well it’s another week and another flight! I’m off to Colorado for some training and the first series of competitions for the season ahead. Always an exciting time of year — a great opportunity to put all the hard work and training to the test to see how you stack up against all the other skiers who live to ski fast!

jd


Posted by on November 28th, 2011

Hey everybody,

It’s been quite the week, month, and for that matter life has been hectic for me since last winter.  My summer was pretty full on with some intense projects to prepare my body and my equipment for the upcoming winter.  As well, I was both a student and teacher at a variety of health and well-being workshops.  I also had a chance to catch up with the Raise Your Hand team a few times as well this summer . . . a totally amazing crew spreading the good word on safe work.

Playing the Raise Your Hand game at a summertime event.

The balance of my summer was spent training with the Canadian Para Alpine Ski Team, and doing some fun stuff like wakeboarding and skydiving! Skydiving might have been the scariest and most exciting thing ever.  My friend Kristi Richards said it best: it’s the closest experience she’s ever had to being in the start gate at the Olympics. I agree.

Jogging at a fitness training camp in Hawaii.

Flashing forward to the past couple of weeks, life has been exceedingly amazing.  I’m back on snow training with the team, and am still on cloud 9 from the release of my latest project, The Freedom Chair. The film recently won the Best Film — Mountain Sports award at the Banff Mountain Film Festival, and the standing O from the 1,000 who saw the film really moved me.  I feel super fortunate to have been able to work with industry leader, Mike Douglas, on this film, and to be able to go get some deep powder turns at Chatter Creek with my buddy Abma.

Jamie Clarke from LiveOutThere.com presented me with the “Best Film — Mountain Sports” award at the Banff Mountain Film Festival.

So with all this great stuff happening, I’m actually starting to feel a little overwhelmed with things.  I’ve recently decided to cut back a little and centralize myself, rather than spend my winter travelling all over the world competing every week.  I’ll still train and compete this year, but focus my time and energy on the domestic circuit, and perhaps do some more filming and complete the X Games.

I’ll tell ya why: first of all it’s going to be so nice to slow things down and enjoy quality moments on the mountain rather than rushing all over the place.  Second, I can work on bettering my technique, and improving my equipment.  Third, and most importantly, I realize that when I get super busy sometimes I forget to pay attention to the details, and that’s when you get hurt.

Honestly, my decision to cut back this winter was inspired by the reoccurring dream that life was starting to look and feel a lot like it was just before I broke my back in 2004.  Too busy, always running around, and sometimes forgetting to pay attention to the details in my working environment — that’s when accidents happen.  Three young workers are permanently disabled on the job each week here in B.C.  So remember, if you have safety or health concerns, let your supervisor know.  It’s a big move for me to scale back when I’m at the height of my career, but to not learn from my past mistakes in life would be foolish.  I’m super lucky to be in the position in life that I’m in right now, and I want to continue moving forward, one step at a time.

Hope you enjoy the video, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Please post your comments, as I’d love to hear them.

Ma halo,

Jd


Posted by on March 23rd, 2011

The first week of March was almost relaxing, I had a few days at home before another long stretch of travel. But then as it does, life started to happen and everything changed in a hurry. I was asked by the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) to do some TV interviews and school presentations in Toronto near the one-year anniversary of the Paralympic Games. To make this happen we shifted the dates of WorkSafeBC’s “win a ski day with Josh” . . . thanks again Camilla and Flynn for tweaking your schedule for me! read more

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