Josh’s good friend Gavin Smart visited him in the hospital right after his accident and he told Josh, “Man, you are going to kick ass in a sit ski!”. And that is exactly what Josh is doing, kicking ass and riding every chance he gets. That is one of the many amazing things about Josh Dueck, he radiates the sense of opportunity and makes you feel like you can accomplish anything because that’s what he is doing - chasing down dreams and proving to people that nothing is impossible.
A couple of weeks ago Josh competed in the BC Disabled Alpine Ski Championships/NORAM right here at Silver Star Mountain. He started in the first of two Giant Slalom races and raced to an impressive 4th place finish in the first race, and placed 2nd in the second GS. From there Josh began to gain momentum in a profound way.
Josh has been closely affiliated with the Silver Star Freestyle Club in the past few years and was the head coach when he had his accident. Josh was invited to be a guest speaker at the Junior Freestyle Championship banquet the same weekend as the NORAM, and for him it was his most memorable presentation to date. He conveyed a great message to the competitors, many of whom were at the first Canadian Junior Championship hosted at Silver Star Mountain 3 years ago right after Josh was injured, and he articulated his personal feelings on risks and opportunities and how his life has changed. The presentation brought some closure for Josh who has always worried for the Freestyle parents and competitors and how the event must have affected those that were around him when he had his accident.
For Josh and everyone in the room that night his presentation really brought conclusion after the injury and gave everyone a great sense of pride that Josh is back ripping and taking everything head on as usual. For Josh the night helped clear his own head of any lingering thoughts and feelings regarding the past and his accident and it helped him move on as well. The next day Josh attacked the race course with a renewed vigor and dominated the field in the slalom race and took Gold. His head was clear and he was able to focus on skiing without worrying about the past. This was truly a turning point for Josh and his skiing career. He could let go of the burden he felt regarding his Freestyle friends and parents and he started skiing with his true passion for the sport, with renewed focus and heart.
There is no better proof of this refreshed Josh Dueck than the one that showed up in Kimberly for the Canada Para-Alpine Championships the following week. At the competition Josh was able to put everything into his skiing and skied like he had never raced before. Josh said that he was able to hold nothing back and ski at the very best of his ability by taking all his freeskiing skills and putting them into the race course. That week Josh rose to the occasion despite the pressure of having lots of friends and family present cheering him on, and he skied his very best. He won Gold in both the first and second Super G events, as well as winning the Giant Slalom, and taking 2nd in the Slalom.
After such an impressive finish to the winter season Josh is looking to keep the momentum going from his last 2 races. Later this month he is taking part in a 2 week World Cup training camp at Whistler with the Canadian Paralympic Alpine Ski Team. Following the World Cup Camp he will be doing another 10 day camp at Mount Hood, Oregon, and his sights are keenly set on traveling to Chile for 6-8 weeks of training this summer.
It’s clear that nothing is slowing Josh down. That’s what’s so amazing and awesome about him. Disability or not, he’s out there charging everyday taking on new challenges and seeing new opportunities and it really shows you that everything is in the power of perception. It’s great to see, Josh radiates opportunity and if you hang out him for even 5 minutes, you feel inspired like you can accomplish anything because he’s accomplishing it too.
It’s been 3 years since Josh’s accident and he has accomplished a ton in those 3 years. The way he looks at it is a series of goals and accomplishments. The 1st year his main goal was to get back on the snow, the 2nd year he started to dream about competing in 2010. After this year he sees the dream of 2010 and he sees himself being a medal contender at the Olympic Games. Josh has always believed it’s possible, but now he’s proving it to himself and everyone else that it’s more than just possible.
This summer you will definitely see Josh around Vernon and Silver Star training and exercising, either rowing on Swan Lake, or road cycling on his recumbent bike, or playing tennis at Seaton School. Congratulations Josh on a fantastic race season, it’s awesome to see bro. Keep charging.
More on Josh.