The opening weekend of the Sundance Film Festival featured more than celebrities on the Park City Mountain Resort slopes this year. We had the great pleasure of hosting three-time Olympian Picabo Street and her annual Picabo Street Ski Challenge, benefitting her charitable organization, Picabo’s Street of Dreams Foundation.
This year, the private event featured two days of first tracks, skiing, race training and racing with the Olympic gold medalist. And let me tell you, as the PCMR team member who was able to tag along as the event coordinator, nothing compares to first tracks down Prospector or seeing a world-class skier tear through the Eagle Race Arena.
What was really special about Picabo’s Ski Challenge this year was her opportunity to host a beneficiary of her foundation. Picabo’s Street of Dreams Foundation has the mission to motivate, inspire, and get people moving in a positive direction so dreams can come true. Sounds pretty broad, I know, but it gives Picabo and her foundation’s leaders the ability to help a wide range of people, from all walks of life. And helping people is one thing Picabo is insanely passionate about.
But let’s get back to her recipient. Dan Nevins, an avid snowboarder, served with the National Guard and was deployed to Iraq in January 2004. One night during his tour, a mission took Nevins and four others out of the military compound in a Humvee. Once out of the compound, an explosive detonated under the vehicle, killing the driver and taking one of Dan’s legs and severely injuring the other leg.
While in recovery, Dan thought this was the end of his athletic days, until he came in contact with the Wounded Warrior Project. They helped Dan through his rehabilitation, and set him up with a prosthetic that allowed him to walk, run, and even snowboard. Unfortunately, infection spread through his other leg, and it had to be removed as well. Dan hadn’t snowboarded since the second amputation, until now.
Picabo got wind of Dan’s story, and how Dan had this one dream to be able to ride with Picabo herself. Lucky for Dan, one of Picabo’s dreams was to ski with a double amputee. She flew him out to Park City Mountain Resort, set him up with equipment from the National Ability Center, and hosted him during her Ski Challenge. Picabo was able to walk Dan through his first time on a snowboard in years, and his first time on a board with both leg prosthetics ever.
“He was incredible, and didn’t even fall once,” Picabo said of Dan and his snowboarding. “Truly an inspiration.”
For more information on Picabo's Street of Dreams Foundation, visit her website here.
Originally from the Pocono’s of Pennsylvania, Travis found his way to Park City three years ago and is now our grooming manager. When not in snowcat you can find him skiing or snowmobiling in the Utah backcountry or enjoying the skiing here at Park City Mountain Resort.