Amy Purdy reviews a video of her run with her husband Daniel Gale, Executive Director and co-founder of Adaptive Action Sports, during a training session on December 18, 2013 in Copper Mountain, Colorado.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Para snowboarders off the slopes and into their living rooms, leaving some thrill seekers reaching for a video game controller in the absence of their action sport of choice.
In a booming video game industry, there are many esports leagues, yet a disabled esports league in the United States remains to be seen. Who better to start one than the organization that’s grown opportunities for disabled active sports athletes since 2005?
“The sky is the limit,” Daniel Gale, husband of Paralympic medalist Amy Purdy, said.
Gale and Amy co-founded Adaptive Action Sports (AAS) in 2005 in Copper Mountain, Colorado, to provide sporting opportunities for people with physical disabilities. AAS offers a range of outdoor sports, including snowboarding and skateboarding.
In the early 2000s, Gale and Purdy noticed there weren’t at the time many avenues to find information on prosthetic feet for wakeboarding and snowboarding. They thought it might be beneficial to create a message board of sorts for folks in need of such feet, like Purdy did at the time.
Quickly, though, they saw a much wider vision of the idea take form, and the two attended a course about starting a non-profit organization. After the workshop, the teacher decided to assist Gale and Purdy through the start-up phase of their nonprofit on a pro-bono basis.
Then, Jason Lee, the star of TV sitcom “My Name is Earl,” raised $40,000 to help the cause.
“In the beginning, it was mostly about just quality of life and creating programs that we loved: snowboard, skateboard, surf, mountain bike, those kinds of things,” Gale said. “It wasn’t until a couple years in that we really saw the potential for what snowboarding could be as far as a Paralympic sport.”
AAS partnered with the Canadian Snowboard Federation and an organization in the Netherlands to “spearhead” snowboarding’s introduction into the Paralympic Games.