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Bionic Snowboarders Decend on Northstar at Lake Tahoe

May 15, 2006

Bionic Snowboarders Decend on Northstar at Lake Tahoe

Adaptive Action Sports -- a California based non-profit that creates action sports opportunities for physically disabled individuals -- will host a team of “super human bionic adaptive athletes.”  The team, which includes amputee and blind snowboarders, will compete at the United States of America Snowboard Association (USASA) Nationals competition at Northstar Lake Tahoe this March 26th thru April 1st.    AAS founders, Amy Purdy and Daniel Gale, will participate with team members in the event.   Purdy is a double leg amputee, avid snowboarder and female team Captain for AAS.  Gale is board sport enthusiast.

When they incorporated Adaptive Action Sports in early 2005, Purdy and Gale realized their dream of an “action-sports” based non-profit to help individuals like Amy find self empowerment through alternative sports, arts and music.  The two share Executive Director responsibilities for the non-profit’s grass roots agenda.

In its short existence, AAS has enjoyed great success.  In 2005, the organization hit the ground running with a fundraiser series of art shows.  These shows auctioned one-of-a-kind high-fashion purses donated and created by artist Becky Hickey who fashions the bags from recycled skateboards and high end fabrics.  The Fifty-Fifty fundraiser, as it was called, was additionally supported by Jason Lee, well-known skateboarder and movie/TV star, Stereo Skateboards, WE Clothing, and Etnies Skate Shoes.,. 

The Fifty-Fifty raised money to support the first-ever skateboard summer camp for adaptive athletes held June of 2005 at Woodward Skate Camp in Pennsylvania.  In August, Fifty-Fifty proceeds helped Brent Kuemmerle (a below knee amputee) and Lovers Leap guides host a successful two day adaptive rock climbing camp in Strawberry CA. The course offered adaptive athletes the opportunity to learn about adaptive climbing gear and to climb at Lovers Leap Rock. Other activities included kayaking and rafting on Lake Tahoe.

Adaptive Action Sports will kick off its’ second year by hosting a team of adaptive riders at the USASA Nationals at Northstar Lake Tahoe this spring. This highly recognized event will bring more than 1,300 athletes, their families and friends to the region for a week of competition and daily festivities. USASA has been receptive to including an adaptive division in the competition due to the hard work of adaptive snowboarder Lucas Grossi. In years past, with virtually no budget and no outside help, Grossi brought adaptive snowboarders together for this event.  This season, Adaptive Action Sports will provide housing for the riders at “The Boca Del Kujo”. Thanks to Bob Cathey at Kings Beach Rentals,, AAS was able to secure these week-long luxury level accommodations at an affordable rate. AAS will also cover USASA entrance fees for the riders, provide an end of the week celebration and a swag bag.  The bag will include items donated by industry sponsors including Anarchy Goggles and Drop Gloves. In addition, attending athletes will have the chance to ride with pro snowboarder and single leg amputee, Thayne Mahler. Thayne rides for Burton, Oakley and Airblaster.

 AAS’ own Amy Purdy has competed at the USASA event in years past, taking home gold and bronze medals.  This year, she will take to the slopes with the other adaptive snowboarders to be hosted by AAS.  Among those confirmed to date are; Oscar Olguin, a United States soldier injured by a suicide bomber in Iraq, and Chad Crittenden, who participated in CBS’ Survivor Vanuatu, which aired two seasons ago. Remaining on the show for 27 days, Chad, a below-the-knee amputee, persevered through starvation, dehydration, discomfort, constant temperature fluctuations, and of course 24-hour camera surveillance. It will be quite a sight to see these and other outstanding athletes pushing one another beyond perceived limitations and on to the medal stand in the 2006 USASA Nationals at Northstar!

AAS is looking for individuals and companies to help support adaptive riders at the USASA Nationals.  All help will be appreciated.  A couple of specific things on the top of the wish list right now are a sports photographer to shoot on the Northstar slopes and a bar/restaurant to help support the end of the week party.

For more details about AAS and its' awesome “Bionic Athletes” and for more info on “How to Help” the effort, check out the AAS website,  Or, contact Amy or Daniel directly at (619)770-0240 or (702)683-6218.