Amy Purdy: cofounder of Copper Mountain’s Adaptive Action Sports
Paralympian Amy Purdy had only been snowboarding for four years before she ended up in the hospital with less than a 2 percent chance of living: At age 19, she suddenly contracted meningococcal meningitis, which ultimately led doctors to amputate both of her legs below her knees to save her life.
Purdy tells the story of her journey in “On My Own Two Feet: From Losing My Legs to Learning the Dance of Life.”
Snowboarding as Motivation
One of her main motivations (besides still having a full life to live) came through snowboarding. She had never missed a season since she started riding, and she wasn’t about to in 1999, when she lay in a hospital bed fighting for her life. Her athletic goal: to snowboard that season — and she did, with prosthetics.
Throughout her recovery, she kept herself going with not only the snowboarding goal, but also the desire to help others. While she’s inspired many through her Ted Talks, her book and her daring and success on “Dancing with the Stars,” perhaps the most tangible way she’s helping people is through Adaptive Action Sports.
Adaptive Action Sports at Copper Mountain
In 2005, she and her now-husband, Daniel Gale, started Adaptive Action Sports, with offices at Copper Mountain. The nonprofit introduces action sports, such as skiing and riding, to people with physical challenges.The couple also actively advocated the Paralympic Gamers to include adaptive snowboarding. Once the Olympic committee allowed the sport, Purdy competed and won bronze (in snowboard-cross) at Sochi’s 2014 Games; silver in snowboard-cross at PyeongChang’s 2018 Games; and bronze in banked slalom at PyeongChang.
She and Gale named the new program they started at Copper Mountain Adaptive Action Sports because it conveys an attitude of finding a way, no matter what it takes. They wanted to blur the line between “ability” and “disability,” in order to break down attitudes that promote exclusion.
One of Adaptive Action Sport’s missions, besides raising awareness and providing programs, involves increasing expectations and respect for the abilities of adaptive individuals. Their motto: Live Beyond Limits.
Adaptive Action Sports provides snowboard lessons at Copper Mountain to any level, from beginner to Olympic competitor. A half-day lesson costs $125; a full day, $195. USASA Coaching ranges from $150-$200. Participants receive a discounted lift ticket at Copper Mountain. The nonprofit also offers skateboarding lessons.
For more information about Adaptive Action Sports at Copper Mountain, visit http://adacs.org.