Adaptive snowboarding took a leap with the International Paralympic Committee announcing on May 1 that Snowboard Cross would be added to the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
For the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park, the news is huge and the timing is right.
The National Sports Center for the Disabled recently acquired a new developmental snowboarding coach, Michael Shea, 29, who boasts a very impressive record.
With two silver medals from Winter X Games 15 and 16; a silver at the Disabled World Cup; a bronze at the Para-Snowboard World Championships; silver and gold medals from the Wells Fargo Cup, held in Winter Park; and a world ranking of second, according to overall points, from the World Snowboard Federation, Shea takes the position of coach with quite an extensive resume and a long history of competition success.
Shea will train full time at both the NSCD program at Winter Park and at Adaptive Action Sports, located at Copper Mountain, while he coaches new and intermediate adaptive snowboard athletes.
Shea will also compete in hopes of attaining a spot on the US Paralympic Snowboard Team.
As a coach, Shea plans to reinforce athletes' positive attitudes as well as their skills while giving back to the disabled snowboarding community and NSCD participants.
"Positive competitive attitude comes first and foremost and then skills," Shea said.
Shea also plans to seek out new members to add to the team.
"I know there are more athletes out there who can help the team," he said. "I hope to find new riders in Colorado that are willing to compete on the World Cup circuit and to progress them as riders."
With the first snows coming to the area in the past week, Shea along with the rest of the area's winter sports enthusiasts, are looking forward to a good season with hopes for some serious storms.
And they'll happily welcome the decision to add snowboarding to the Paralympic Games, which came as a surprise to many who compete in the sport because the Russian Organizing Committee had announced in the summer of 2011 that snowboarding would not be included in the 2014 winter games.