Those that have been skiing for years and decades have likely seen an adaptive or skier or two shredding the slopes. More simply called "sit-skiers," adaptive skiers are those with disabilities that impede them from traditional standing ski set-ups. Instead, they ride a single-skied adaptive device--a sit-ski.
While it's always inspiring to share the slopes with a sit-skier, a recent descent by US Paralympic medalist Chris Devlin-Young has given a whole new level of inspiration. Devlin-Young recently made the first unassisted descent of Jackson Hole's Corbet's Couloir on a sit-ski.
For those unfamiliar with Corbet's, it's essentially the greatest icon of expert skiing in the United States. Those that know expert skiing know that there are more difficult runs in the U.S.--including at Jackson itself, but for those new to the genre, Corbet's is the coveted holy grail, the place to test your mettle, and the ultimate bragging right if you launch it smoothly. It entails a 10- to 30-foot drop off a cornice onto a narrow, unforgiving, 50-degree chute. There are many tales of the mighty-minded, meek-stomached would-bes that got a good, long look at the run and then backed steadily away, finding an easier way down the mountain.
But Devlin-Young wasn't one of them. Following a stint teaching other sit-skiers as part of Jackson's Steep and Deep camp, Devlin-Young hit Corbet's on an early morning run after more than a foot of snow. And he launched off the full 30 feet.
Here's how he describes it: "As I scraped over the edge I went from a standstill to holy crap I’m
going fast in less time than it takes to blink. The first turn to the
right came at me at light speed. To my surprise there was a ton of room
past that first turn so I linked a bunch more together until I got stuck
again in the snow at the bottom. Holy crap."
You can marvel at Devlin-Young's full account at Teton At. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like anyone made video of Devlin's descent, but here's a clip of Corbet's to give you an idea what he faced:
Via The Goat