Throughout her struggles, a theme that emerged to her was that adaptive snowboarding was a very new thing.
“At the time I was searching for information, everyone said the same thing. They had never seen a double-amputee snowboarder and I should get into monoskiing,” Purdy said. “I remember thinking that it just hasn’t been done yet or it’s not out there enough so people think it’s not possible. I remember thinking ‘even if I have to go to NASA and have them build me a pair of legs that I can snowboard in, I’m going to figure out a way to do this.’”
It was Purdy’s story and her motivation to get back into snowboarding that caused Gale in 2005 to start a nonprofit organization to spread knowledge, provide support, training and innovation for disabled snowboarders like Purdy.
“Since we founded the organization in 2005, we’ve seen so much innovation in the adaptive snowboarding community,” Gale said. “At the time there was only a handful of people. We knew the initial idea was to create a message board where we could at least share information and then we realized there was more of a need for a place for the adaptive community to come together, share information and, above all, learn how to snowboard with disabilities.”
Adaptive Action Sports is a chapter of Disabled Sports USA and is teaming with Woodward at Copper Mountain, Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center and the International Snowboard Training Center in Silverthorne to train adaptive athletes for the Nationals Team and the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, Russia.
“We are niche because we focus on the adaptive training of snowboarders of all ages,” Gale said. “We don’t do any alpine sports, but we love to train disabled athletes.”
Adaptive Active Sports has four tiers to its program: The “never evers” beginners, intermediate, the development team and elite level.
“We also serve as a place for disabled athletes to share information and get tips on how to adapt to their sports,” Gale said.
Besides finding a place to call home, the couple is tasked with training their local athletes for the Nationals Team.
“This upcoming season, our elite level has to make the Nationals Team — they have to compete this winter for a spot on the Paralympic Team. Our goal is to train all of the athletes that make it. There’s competition, they’re going to have to work hard,” Gale said.