Snowboarder Garrett Geros poses for a headshot at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center.
Garrett Geros grew up pretty far from the nearest mountains, and even further from regular snow on the ground. But all it took was a few family vacations for Geros to fall in love with snowboarding.
“I picked it up for the first time and I instantly loved it. Because I never got to go, I was always like ‘When are we going next? ‘” Geros laughed.
It wasn’t until Geros had his leg amputated following a car accident that he found an opportunity to pursue the sport competitively.
“When I lost my leg, I knew I wanted to do something big with my life, so I started looking at sports,” Geros explained.
He started by researching the summer sports available, with a quick realization: “Almost immediately I thought, I am not fast enough for this. Running and swimming? Out of the question,” Geros laughed. It was then that he realized that snowboarding was an option, and he was sold.
“I love snowboarding. I knew I wasn’t great at it, but I was willing to try!” From there Geros was introduced to Amy Purdy, a member of Team USA and her husband who got him involved in Adaptive Action sports. His senior year of high school Geros competed in his first competition and fell in love. A few short months later, he moved out West and decided to pursue snowboarding at a competitive level.
For Geros, who wrestled competitively in high school, the transition to adaptive snowboarding was one that required a lot of dedication and time on the slopes.
“How you get good at snowboarding, in my opinion, is only with time. I didn’t have a lot of skills to start but I put in so much time and effort that I developed those skills.” Geros spent almost every day on the slopes perfecting his technique.
And all that time paid off. Geros qualified for the 2019-2020 National Paralympic Team as one of the youngest athletes on the team. In just a few short years, Geros had gone from snapping into an adaptive board for the first time to qualifying for the national team.
“I always dreamed of being a professional athlete and for a dream like that to still be able to come true...it was so surreal,” Geros laughed.
Like many others, Geros has had to adjust his training with the suspension of competitions. Luckily for Geros, he could take his training to the water. Also a competitive wakeboarder, Geros has been able to continue competing even throughout quarantine - even winning a local able-bodied competition at his home wakeboard park as the only adaptive athlete.
“Wakeboarding has always been a big hobby of mine. It really mimics a lot of the motions from snowboarding, and I even have a wakeboard that rides just like a snowboard,” Geros explained. “It’s definitely one of my biggest hobbies that I can use alongside training.”
In addition to physical changes to his training, Geros has also dedicated a lot more time to mental training.
“I’m always ready to go out and do something. I’m very active,” Geros laughed. “Having to stay back and stay inside and not being able to do normal things has been a big challenge for me.”
He explained that earlier this season his teammate Keith Gable sat members of the national team down on a trip to Finland and walked them through meditation drills. Geros has used those same techniques and meditation drills throughout the last few months to focus on his mental health.
As he quarantines in Georgia with his family, Geros is really just counting down the days until he can get back on the snow.
“I am so excited to just get back in the snow, to have the board under my feet, to see the mountains,” Geros smiled. “I’m excited to ride.”