You Won’t Want To Miss The U.S. Snowboarders At The Winter Paralympics

by Stephen Kerr

Mike Minor competes during the men's snowboard slalom SB-UL at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on March 16, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.


It’s not unusual for athletes to shed a few tears when they make the Paralympic podium, especially when it’s their first gold medal.
U.S. snowboarder Mike Minor wasn’t the least bit ashamed about getting misty-eyed at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. The final day of snowboard competition was a historic one for the sport. It marked the Paralympic debut of the banked slalom event, following the introduction of snowboardcross at the Paralympic Winter Games Sochi 2014.
Minor, a native of Frisco, Colorado, was the favorite to bring home a gold medal for the Americans. But after the first two runs, he found himself in fourth place. It would take a spectacular final run to win the title. And that’s exactly what he delivered.
Four days after capturing the bronze medal in the men’s UL snowboardcross competition, Minor put on a performance for the ages in his third run, shaving nearly three seconds off his fastest time to finish in 50.77, a half second faster than silver medalist Patrick Mayrhofer of Austria to snag the gold.
“I just couldn’t believe everything fell so perfectly into place when I needed it to most,” Minor told World Para Snow Sports following the race. “There was a lot of pressure on me before I came out of that gate at the top. I had one deep last breath before I went and told myself, ‘It will be what it will be, run your lines and enjoy this race.’”
Team USA dominated the podium in PyeongChang by winning three of the five gold medals that day. In total Americans garnered 13 medals in the snowboarding competition including five gold, five silver and three bronze. Coming off another strong performance at the recent world championships in Lillehammer, Norway, the U.S. team could be poised for more success at the Winter Games.
Here are five other Team USA snowboarders to keep an eye on in Beijing.

Brenna Huckaby celebrates winning gold in the women's snowboard cross SB-LL1 at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on March 12, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.


No snowboarder dominated the 2018 Winter Games quite like Huckaby. The Baton Rouge, Louisiana, native captured gold in both snowboardcross and banked slalom. Now 26 and based in Utah, the mother of two is still going strong after taking gold in dual banked slalom and silver in snowboardcross in this year’s world championships, giving her a total of six world championship medals for her career. She’s also picked up three wins on the world cup circuit.
A former gymnast, Huckaby took on snowboarding after having her right leg amputated due to osteosarcoma. In addition to her success on the slopes, Huckaby also made history when she became the first Paralympian to be featured in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition.

Mike Schultz celebrates winning silver in the men's dual banked slalom SB-LL1 at the 2021 World Para Snow Sports Championships on Jan. 14, 2022 in Lillehammer, Norway.


Schultz, aka “Monster Mike” for his aggressive riding style, returns to the Paralympic Games after winning gold in snowboardcross and silver in banked slalom in PyeongChang. The St. Cloud, Minnesota, native, 40, kept up that momentum this season, taking silver in both dual banked slalom and snowboardcross at the world championships.
Schultz, who also designs prosthetics through his company BioDapt, is unsure whether this will be his last Paralympic Games.

(L-R) Mike Schultz, Noah Elliot and Bruno Bosnjak (Croatia) pose during the victory ceremony for the men's snowboard banked slalom SB-LL1 at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on March 16, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.


Elliott and Schultz may be teammates, but their rivalry on the mountain has created some exciting competitions.
At this year’s world championships, Elliott won gold in an exciting dual banked slalom finish, 1.67 seconds better than his teammate. It was the latest success for the 24-year-old from St. Charles, Missouri. At the PyeongChang 2018 Games, Elliott earned a gold medal in banked slalom and a bronze in snowboardcross.
Elliott has also experienced success in world cup competition this season, claiming bronze in Landgraaf, Netherlands, and won a pair of golds in Hochfuegen, Austria.

Keith Gabel celebrates during the flower ceremony for the men's para snowboard cross standing finals at the Paralympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 on March 14, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.


Gabel will be making his third Paralympic appearance at age 37. At the 2014 Sochi Games, the Ogden, Utah, native earned a bronze medal in snowboardcross. He took home a silver in the same event at PyeongChang in 2018.
Gabel took the next step to the top of the podium at the world championships in 2019. He’ll be looking to stay in podium contention this month after grabbing a handful of medals on the world cup circuit.

Katlyn Maddry competes during the women's dual banked slalom SB-LL2 at the 2021 World Para Snow Sports Championships on Jan. 14, 2022 in Lillehammer, Norway.


At 20, Maddry is the youngest on the U.S. snowboarding team, but her rise to the sport’s biggest stage is nothing short of impressive.
At her world cup debut in Landgraaf, Maddry, of Wasilla, Alaska, finished ninth in banked slalom. She topped that with a silver and a bronze in snowboardcross in Klovsjo, Sweden. In her world championships debut in Lillehammer, Maddry finished fourth in dual banked slalom, surprising even herself.
“I was not expecting to be literally so close to a podium (at the world championships),” said Maddry, who was born in Guangzhou, China. “It was super fun, and it taught me how much I’ve improved this season and how far I’ve come.”


Para snowboarding competition begins March 6 at the Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou, China, with the men’s and women’s snowboardcross qualification, followed by the crowning of first winners the next day. The banked slalom qualifications take place March 11, with the finals following the next day.


NBC will provide over 230 hours of coverage from the Winter Games. The Para snowboarding events will be shown on the USA Network, and they can also be streamed in their entirety via Peacock, and the NBC Sports App.
Snowboarding commentators for the network include U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Famer Trace Worthington, who will be making his Paralympics debut doing play-by-play; three-time Paralympic medalist Amy Purdy, also making her commentating debut; and Andrea Joyce, who will provide on-site reporting.
Visit to view a complete broadcast schedule for snowboarding events.

Stephen Kerr is a freelance journalist and newsletter publisher based in Austin, Texas. He is a contributor to on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. You can follow him on Twitter @smkwriter1.