Sport is the tonic for Tyler Turner

Canadian Paralympic Committee

March 06, 2022

Snowboarder rode dark times before becoming world champion


In 2017, Tyler Turner suffered a devasting injury when a parachute jump from 10,000 feet went wrong.  He crash landed and injuries would eventually lead to both legs being amputated below the knee.

Turner, now 33, has always been active in sports – skydiving, surfing and of course snowboarding. But in the immediate weeks after the accident he thought those adrenaline-charged sports would be past history.

In the end, Turner wasn’t going to go down that easy.

“I would say the passions I pursue are what keeps me alive really,” said Turner, who won the gold medal in the men’s SB-LL1 snowboard cross at the world championships this past January in Lillehammer. He is competing at his first Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing.

‘’Without it, depression is a deep dark hole and that’s what helped me climb out of the dark days and it’s what keeps me motivated to get up in the morning and push through the pain and a lot of the challenges.

‘’It’s all about just having fun and putting a smile on your face.”

Para snowboarding was the obvious sport to primarily focus on for Turner. He has also returned to making multiple jumps a day as a skydiving instructor in addition to his exploits on the board.

‘’I mean snowboarding’s been my whole life,’’ he said. ‘’It’s what made me an income for most of my life, and now I get to ride and pursue medals which is super cool.’’

He has been working with a Merville-based board building company, Kindred Custom Snowboards and Skis, and also coaches.

Those first attempts at snowboarding with prosthetics were not easy. Turner had tried some wheelchair sports initially such as basketball and tennis but he wanted to focus on a stand-up sport.

‘’There were a lot of issues, a lot of pain but I knew right away I was going to be able to ride at a high level,’’ Turner recalled. ‘’I started making phone calls to people I knew in the industry. I honestly thought with the right help and support, coaching and prosthetics that I had a chance of being quite good.’’

So good, that now he is a world champion, a World Cup champion, and a Paralympian with two events on the docket this week.  

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