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ICYMI: Para Snowboarding News And Social Media Roundup For December 8

By Todd Kortemeier | Dec. 08, 2020, 8:42 p.m. (ET)

Every other Tuesday we scour the web for the latest going on in the world of U.S. Para snowboarding. Here’s what you missed!

Social Media Roundup

It was an unusual Thanksgiving for everyone around the world, but the members of the U.S. Para snowboarding team made the most of it, and posted about their celebrations on social media. Paralympic medalist Keith Gabel posted a video sharing about the good things that happened this year.

Those who follow Paralympic gold medalist Mike Schultz’s Instagram know that his horses are a big part of his family. So it was no wonder they featured in the Thanksgiving family photo. Comanche, Ranger and Chief took their places alongside their humans: Schultz, his wife Sara and daughter Lauren.

Paralympic medalist Amy Purdy did a solid for anybody alone on Thanksgiving, going live on Instagram with any fans wanting to join.

Two-time Paralympic gold medalist Brenna Huckaby shared some thoughts on this most unusual of Thanksgivings: “I’m going to dig into myself today and really focus on my gratitude because that’s the whole purpose of thanksgiving ... right?” She then shared what she was grateful for, from time with her family to the falling snow outside.

Paralympic medalist Brittani Coury also shared what she was thankful for, which would run well beyond Instagram’s character limit: “I can sit here and write a 10-page post about what I’m grateful for, and that is how I know I’m truly blessed.”

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One thing Coury has to be thankful for is graduating with her bachelor’s degree in nursing on Dec. 5 — with a 4.0 GPA, no less.

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World Para Snow sports is putting the word out they’re looking for classifiers. Anyone with a medical and sports background is invited to apply.

In The News

Early 2022 is going to be a busy time for Team USA’s Para snowboarders. That’s because the world championships originally scheduled for this coming February have officially been postponed to January 2022 due to ongoing uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic. That puts the world championships right up against the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, due to begin March 4.

Fans and athletes alike will have to be a bit patient for the historic world championships, which are set to be the first time that world championships for Para alpine skiing, biathlon, Nordic skiing, and snowboarding were going to be contested at the same event. Held in Lillehammer, Norway, the championships are expected to be the biggest event in the area since the Olympic Winter Games came to town in 1994.

“We were looking forward to the championships in Lillehammer next year, but we fully support the decision to postpone it to January 2022,” said Managing Director of World Para Sports Christian Holtz. “While (this was) not the news we were hoping to share with our sport community, we will always put the health and well-being of athletes and all those involved in the competitions as our priority.”

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Dec. 3 was International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and to celebrate, TeamUSA.org featured seven athletes who have had a profound impact on advocating for adaptive athletes. Brenna Huckaby and Amy Purdy were each featured from U.S. Para snowboarding.

Huckaby has worked to increase the visibility of Paralympic sports, becoming the first Paralympian to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue, and is known for her advocacy on social media for disability rights.

It has now been 15 years since Purdy co-founded Adaptive Action Sports alongside her husband Daniel Gale, and the organization has been a leader in developing Paralympians as snowboarding made its Paralympic debut in 2014. AAS was also instrumental in getting adaptive skateboarding added to the X Games program. Today, AAS has even branched out into esports.

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Move United, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing opportunities for individuals with disabilities to participate in sports, held its 33rd annual Ski Spectacular Dec. 1-3. But obviously, this one looked a little different due to the pandemic.

People from all over the country typically descend on Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge, Colorado, for the event. But this year, they all logged on for three days of virtual sessions “designed to strengthen and expand adaptive snow sports programs.” Paralympians Keith Gabel and Brittani Coury, who have attended the event in person in past years, spoke at the opening and closing ceremonies.

Snowboarding is my passion,” Gabel said. “Being a part of The Hartford Ski Spectacular allows me the honor and privilege to share my knowledge with hundreds of people each year and help individuals with disabilities learn about adaptive snow sports.”

Todd Kortemeier

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to USParaSnowboarding.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.