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I met Chandler about 6 years ago at our home mountain in Washington, Alpental. My mom and I had seen this young guy shredding around the resort skiing fast and fluid on one leg. We introduced our selves and learned he had recently lost his leg in a boating accident. I also got to ski with Chandler a few times at Alta, and I grabbed his number. To this day I have him saved in my contacts as “Chandler Kills it.” He is the most enthusiastic guy and seriously throws down on his ski! I was so impressed with how fast he was, and how confident he jumped off everything. He likes getting air more then I do! Most of all though I was impressed with his attitude. Not only is he positive, but he is a rad, down to earth guy. One day when we were skiing together, he had been following me off the cliffs I was hitting and showing me other fun drops. I asked him if he has tried skiing switch. By the end of the day he was craving switch turns on his ski… Here is Chandler’s story.
Brief summary of the boating accident. How long ago did it happen?
The boat traveled right over me, and I got rocked by the propeller, which shattered my pelvis, cut my foot, hand, and totally destroyed my right leg from the foot to the hip. I was rescued by my dad, canoed to shore (the boat had broken down) and eventually made it to the hospital. I lost about 70% of my blood, and barely survived the night. After a couple months, I was out of the hospital and eventually made a full recovery, having lost a leg in the proc
Me: I hear your on your mission? Tell us a little about that!
What were your first thoughts when you found out you would have to live with one leg?
When I really understood that I had lost my leg, I just thought “what things can I still do?” I was 16 years old, and I loved skiing, tennis and lacrosse. It seemed like my favorite things would be unavailable to me. It was tough for those first few days.
How has losing a leg made you who you are today?
What opportunities has having one leg created in your life? What have you learned about your self since then?
Who has been your biggest support? Is there a particular role model in life?
What was it like to get back on skis? What role has skiing played in your life?
Getting back to skiing was so good. My doctors were worried that if I fell skiing, I could re-break my pelvis, so they banned me from skiing until the spring. In February, I had an appointment with one of my surgeons, and asked him if I could ski. He gave in and said okay, and that day I skipped the last part of school and went skiing at Alpental, my home mountain. On the first ride up the chair, I was nervous that I would fall getting off the chair. To my surprise, it went okay, no falling, and I made my way slowly down the run with no big problems. On that first afternoon, I was back to skiing advanced terrain, but I was hungry for more. Later that season I made it back to skiing powder and even a little slackcountry.
After a few seasons of skiing on one leg, skiing to me is a way to experience freedom, physically. I have a prosthetic leg, but I’m unable to really run around. When I ski I don’t use it. I love not feeling like I’m hindered in any way. Skiing is a way that I can feel the rush of going fast. I love to ski in trees and figure out fun lines. It makes me happy to ski creatively. Skiing on one leg is pretty much the same as two. The mechanics are the same. I love that I can still ski hard. Skiing is one of those things which I will try to continue do until the day I die. I don’t know how long my leg will last. My body might give out a little earlier than other people, but until it does, I’ll be skiing.
Any last words or advice for us?
As I write this, I haven’t skied for more than a year, simply because I am taking this two year break. Do I miss skiing? Oh yeah. However, I am happy right now, and I think it’s remarkable when we leave the things we love most, it’s possible to still find happiness. I am so grateful that I can still ski. I think some people just kill themselves thinking about a bunch of “what if” questions. Don’t focus on the “what if” things of the past, and focus on the present, certainly with the future in mind. I am thoroughly convinced that if we choose to be happy, we can be happy.
Posted December 6th, 2011. 1 comment
Thursday night I headed up to Bellingham with Rime Knits Owner, Ross Reid. We woke up at 5 am Friday morning to beat the rush of cars to Mt. Baker’s opening day. 4 ft of fresh snow awaited us as we pulled into the dark empty lot. It was an incredible day of some of the deepest snow I’ve ever skied with some wild crazy FUN ASS people including Surface team riders Eliel Hindert, brothers Mattias and Micah Evangelista. Our shred posse also included our guide for the day, Mr. Grant Gunderson. DubSatch boys Sam Cohen and Taylor Lymam also scrambled to get the goods all the way from utah! After a full day of neck deep pow turns, countless high fives, and continuous choking and laughing we met up at Bellingham’s Casa Que Pasa for well deserved burritos! From there I stuffed into a little car between beer, wine, wet ski gear, and stinky boots with friends of friends across the boarder to Vancover. From there we dropped off some people, picked up a truck and some other people and rallied up to Whistler!! With pretty skys, new friends, and fresh snow we shreded the rest of Whistlers opening weekend till our quads were on fire. Sunday evening I jumped into another friend of a friend… of a friend’s car where we made our way back across the boarder and to my car parked at Ross’s then finally back to my house. THEN, some how woke up this morning for my dentist appointment, then to my physical appointment and THEN I’m waking up early tomorrow morning to drive to Utah where I’ll be posting up again this winter. woooooo
Posted November 22nd, 2011. Add a comment
Jamie Pierre, Ski Ledgend, husband, and father of 2 was killed in an avalanche yeserday at Snowbird. I always saw Jamie skiing around snowbird, catching as many trams has he could with a big ass smile. There were many chair lift rides full of stories about Jamie hucking this cliff over here, or sending that line full throtle over there. Several people boasting about how they had witnessed one of this “sends.” The ski community will miss this legend. Our hats off to you crazy dude, you are such an inspiration to us all. Let your children hear the amazing stories of your life, and be so damn proud! RIP JP.