As the 2022 Winter Paralympics get underway on March 13, Reno Tahoe will be well-represented at the games, with seven athletes from the High Fives Foundation competing in the Paralympics. Based in Truckee, High Fives supports athletes who have suffered a life-changing injury.
Keith Gabel will represent the U.S. in Men’s Snowboard Cross and Men’s Banked Slalom. Beijing is not Keith’s first Paralympic appearance – he was a bronze medalist at the 2014 games in Sochi and a silver medalist in 2014 in Pyeongchang. When he’s not snowboarding, he enjoys mountain biking, camping, fishing, skateboarding and trap shooting.
After growing up in Maui, Evan Strong is now a phenom on the snow, competing in Men’s Snowboard Cross and Men’s Banked Slalom. Evan took home gold at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games and silver in PyeongChang in the Banked Slalom event. Snowboarding isn’t his only interest and you can often find him skateboarding, surfing, cycling and gardening.
Andrew Kurka made his Paralympic debut in PyeonChang, where the sit-skier took gold in the Men’s Downhill and silver in the Super G. He will be competing in Beijing in Giant Slalom, Super G, Super Combined and Downhill. He loves the outdoors and enjoys fishing and hunting, as well as cooking and spending time with his family.
Jasmin Bambur began Para alpine skiing in 2000 and was the first athlete to represent Serbia at a Paralympic Winter Games when he competed in the 2010 Games in Vancouver. Jasmin now represents the U.S. and will be competing in Men’s Alpine Skiing Slalom and Giant Slalom. Before taking up alpine skiing, he tried wheelchair tennis, wheelchair basketball and water skiing. Alpine skiing is the only sport in which the athlete is free of the wheelchair, and Jasmin enjoys the feeling of freedom he experiences when skiing.
Competing for Canada, Katie Combaluzier is a Para alpine athlete who will be competing in Women’s Alpine Skiing Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super G, Super Combined and Downhill. At the 2021 World Para Snow Sports Championships in Lillehammer, she earned silver in the Super Combined and Giant Slalom, as well as a bronze in the Downhill. Katie hopes to return to the sports she loves without limitation, including skiing, climbing and hiking.
Representing Canada, Tyler Turner is a Para snowboard athlete and will be competing in the Men’s Snowboard Cross and Men’s Banked Slalom events. He won gold at the World Championships in 2021 in Lillehammer and also took home gold in the 2021 World Cup in Italy.
Representing the U.S., Matthew Brewer is a Para alpine athlete competing in Slalom and Giant Slalom in Beijing. Even though this is only his second year competing in the sport, he’s already had top 10 finishes the 2021 Nor-Am Series, with a 5th in Slalom and 6th in Giant Slalom.
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