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Ravi Drugan is Patiently Waiting to Return to His Natural Habitat on the Slopes

By Joshua Clayton | Sept. 10, 2020, 9:42 a.m. (ET)

Ravi Drugan won a bronze medal at the 2015 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.

The past few months would have been hectic for Ravi Drugan in any other year. 

Between training in Utah and Oregon, nationals and summer camps with the National Ability Center and Team USA, Drugan is used to busy summers. But with many mountains across the country closing due to COVID-19, the Para skier has had to take a break from training for a few months. 

“Normally I only get about a week off here and there, and we're still super focused either on snow, somewhere or at the Olympic & Paralympic Training Center getting baseline and fitness testing done to see where we're at for the next summer. I haven’t been home this much in years,” he said. 

While Drugan said he’s eager to get back to skiing, he’s making the most of his time away from the slopes. He’s had an opportunity to spend more quality time with his family in Oregon while working on his other hobbies, like hiking, camping and fixing up his 1972 Bronco. 

Drugan’s only goal is to relax and have fun until he gets that opportunity to return to what he loves to do, and once that chance comes, he doesn’t expect to see any lag from his time off.  

“Skiing and training, any time on snow is just more natural to me than sitting around here waiting to be on snow, like riding a bike,” he said. “I'm not worried about being back on the snow at all or the adjustment . When I get back in my sit-ski, it feels a little foreign just after a couple of weeks, but you do one run and you're like, ‘Oh yeah, this is what I do.’” 

One conversation with Drugan makes it obvious he’s more comfortable speeding down a snowy mountain than curling up with a book next to a fireplace and that’s been true since he was a little child. 

Drugan’s need for speed as a kid eventually translated into a dream of being in the X Games. He tried his hand in autocross and skateboarding before he started skiing. 

“I always wanted to be a race car driver and I liked going fast. At one point when I was a little kid, I wanted to be a stunt driver,” he said. 

When he had both legs amputated above the knee after being hit by a train in 2004, he didn’t let it take his dream away. Three years after the accident, he picked up skiing. 

Set up with new adaptive equipment, Drugan went up to Hoodoo Ski Area in Oregon for a half-day lesson. He spent the morning going down the less challenging runs until his father, an avid skier, convinced the instructor to let them spend the rest of the day skiing the black diamond runs. 

Drugan ended up spending about 120 days on the slopes in his first year skiing and has since made the mountains his home. He eventually met Paralympic skier Carl Burnett, who pointed him toward Colorado, where he competed in his first race after getting a grant from the Challenge Athletes Foundation which helped him obtain his monoski. 

Drugan would go on to win a bronze medal at the 2015 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado, but after the monoski events were cut from the Winter X Games, he was looking for something new. From there he started training full-time at the National Ability Center. 

“After a year of just free skiing and doing some little events, I thought, ‘Man, I got to get back into some real competition’,” he said. “I always just wanted to be the best skier I could be. So eventually to be a good skier, you got to go prove yourself everywhere.” 

Drugan has no idea when he’ll get back to training, but he does know that he’ll be ready when that day comes, and his focus will be on get better on every single run. 

“First prize is always the goal in every race,” he said. “So, I'll do my best to get there.”