Mike Minor competes at the 2022 Dew Tour. (Photo: Andrew Durso)
Mike Minor has collected more than his share of bumps and bruises over the years in competitive snowboarding and skateboarding.
The two-time Paralympic medalist latest ding came in late July at the 2022 Dew Tour in Des Moines, Iowa. Taking part in the men’s adaptive street skateboarding event, Minor took a hard spill.
“I took a really bad wreck in my first run of my street contest and hit my back on a rail,” Minor said. “And I mean, I hit my back hard. There was paint from the rail on my shirt. I got up and I was able to finish my run. My next run was definitely terrible because I was hurting from that hit.”
Minor still managed to place sixth in the street event, but any thought of competing in the next day’s park event went out the window.
“I was pretty bummed about that, for sure, because I love skating in those events,” Minor said. “They’re definitely one of my favorites.”
Minor already came into the event with a pair of herniated discs in his neck. Luckily his fall during the street event didn’t happen in the same area and only resulted in a few days of soreness.
Minor, who was born without a right forearm, said the neck pain arrived at a skate park one day. He’s still not sure where the herniated discs came from.
“It’s been a lot of years of this stuff, though, and there’s a lot of hits I take like this,” Minor said. “It’s probably just a combination of all the stuff that I’ve been doing over the years. I have a lot of friends that used to skate with me, they don’t even do it anymore.”
Minor, 32, has no plans to quit either sport anytime soon.
“I’ve really got that kind of spirit,” Minor said. “I think I’m going to take it until I’m like pretty much unable to do it.”
While the accumulated injuries won’t discourage Minor from still competing as a skateboarder, they have made him reconsider his methods a bit.
“I like to still go crazy and hard,” said Minor, “but I have to start being conscious of where my neck is all the time and thinking about different stuff like posture and whatnot.
“Now, I’m going to start getting back into cardio and working out. I just want to be mindful of my neck and my injury. Since it’s a herniation, I don’t want to do a lot of jarring motions on my neck. I’m probably going to try to refrain from running and do more biking and different things like that.”
Minor is currently in the process of settling in Finland, where his fiancée lives. The move won’t hinder his ability to participate in either sport, however.
“It’s got a good winter,” Minor said of the Nordic country. “It’s kind of similar to Colorado, the seasons and the timeframes. Getting to snowboard quite a bit is definitely an advantage. They get a lot of snow.
“And the summer times are daylight, so you can skate pretty much whenever you want. It’s like almost 24 hours of sunlight.”
Living in Finland can also give Minor another advantage once the new snowboarding season starts.
“Most of our events are in Europe,” Minor said. “So, I’ll be nice and close for everything we have to do over here. You don’t have jet lag. That’s definitely an advantage.”
Minor is already at an advantage competing as a skateboarder, since it complements the skills required to succeed as a snowboarder.
“I definitely feel like there’s a ton of (crossover) between both sports because if you look at banked slalom, one of our events, and then skateboarding in the bowls and stuff, it’s literally the same kind of motions in the corners,” Minor said. “Skating definitely helps out with those events.”
Minor would know. He won gold in that event at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 before missing the podium in banked slalom and snowboardcross earlier this year in Beijing.
“I was a little bummed with my performance in China, but you can’t be on top all the time,” Minor said. “It’s just good to be experiencing it and getting to do it with my friends. It’s really cool.”
This winter will include the world championships, and Minor will prepare accordingly. At the 2017 worlds, he won gold and silver medals.
“I plan on hitting it head-on,” Minor said. “I’m really excited for this winter. Actually, I kind of can’t wait for it to get here.
“There’s some weird quality to this that you’re just super addicted to. You always come back, so it’s really hard to just stop doing it.”