— from an article written by Elena Jacobs for Granite Sports magazine in the Fall 2003 issue
Two years ago (GSM, Summer 2001, pp. 26-27) we introduced you to an extraordinary young man who we believed was on his way to stardom in the skiing world. His name is Tyler Walker and he’s from Franconia, New Hampshire. At the time Tyler had just entered high school the previous autumn and, like fifteen year olds everywhere, was eagerly looking forward to getting his driver’s license the next year.
Although he had begun ski racing only the previous year Tyler was already winning or finishing in the top three in the races that season. That in itself was an impressive achievement, but as we said Tyler is a remarkable person. When he goes flying down a ski slope it is on a monoski. Tyler’s legs were amputated above the knees when he was just four years old.
As the 2001 season came to a close Tyler’s wins had qualified him as the National Junior Mens Champion in the National Alpine Disabled Races. His dream, he shyly confided to us, was to become a member of the U.S. Disabled Skiers Team and go to the Olympics in 2006. To be selected for the team would mean he would have to place as one of the top three skiers overall in the U.S. Ski Association sanctioned races, and to place in the top three in the Nationals.
This past February Tyler competed in the Columbia Crest Cup at Winter Park, Colorado, where he was the top finishing United States racer in the GS, second best mono-skier in the Slalom, and third best in the Super G.
In mid-March Tyler entered the Eastern Regional Disabled Alpine Ski Championships in Waterville Valley. He competed in the Open Men’s category against some of the best disabled alpine skiers in the country, including members of the U.S. Disabled Alpine Ski Team. Tyler won first place overall in the Super G, besting the all of the U.S. ski team and Paralympian medalists. He won second place in the sit-ski class on the GS and fourth in Slalom.
In Big Sky, Montana, at the end of March Tyler completed the last requirement to qualify for the U.S. Disabled Ski Team by skiing to third place overall in the Downhill, the first event of the U.S. National Disabled Alpine Championships. First and second places were taken by the 2002 Paralympic Downhill gold and silver medalists.
At the end of that week, Tyler was offered a place on the U.S. Disabled Ski Team, which he quickly accepted, just two weeks before his seventeenth birthday. Tyler Walker is making his dreams come true.