Whistler native and two-time Paralympian Tyler Mosher is retiring after achieving his goal of getting para-snowboarding included in the 2014 Sochi Paralympics.
Having competed in both the Vancouver and Sochi Paralympics, the 42-year-old announced last week on Facebook that he was moving on from the sport.
“My goal was to help promote snowboarding for people living with a disability and ideally to get the sport into the Paralympic Games and I was successful in achieving that goal,” said Mosher. “I’ve been living with a spinal cord injury for almost 14 years and I’ve made my mark and I’ve succeeded at my goals, so I think it’s time for me to leave the realm of being an active Paralympic athlete.”
Though he is done with competing at the Paralympics, Mosher hopes to continue to be an ambassador for para-snowboarding and to promote active living for people with disabilities in B.C. and the rest of Canada.
Mosher, who suffered a spinal cord injury while snowboarding on Blackcomb in 2000, returned to snowboarding and cross-country skiing despite being 40 per cent paralyzed. In 2008, he won the first adaptive snowboard world cup before scooping the 2009 world championship.
Though Mosher initially struggled with cross-country skiing, he eventually met his goals and was able to represent Canada at the 2010 Paralympic Games in the sport.
For the 2014 Paralympics, Mosher was the only snowboarder on Team Canada to have previously competed in the Games, prompting him to take a leadership role. But despite being a favourite to win gold in Sochi, circumstances — such as a course better-suited to amputees than athletes with limited lower-limb mobility — and rule changes in the event put him at a disadvantage and he was unable to reach the podium.
“I think I helped lead and provide a leadership role to my team (during the Games), but my team was mentally prepared more than I thought and I was really proud of them,” he said. “In 2010, I met my goals as they were so out of my comfort zone and they were fairly realistic. In 2014, I met my process goals, which I was very happy about, but I’m not happy with the outcome on the day of the races. But that’s just the way it is.”
Mosher said he’s now turning his focus to the new goals he has set for himself in the next chapter of his life.
“I have set two particular goals in mind, one being to participate in the Artic Circle race in Greenland, which is a 160-km loop for cross-country skiing and that is going to take quite a bit of training that I’m looking forward to,” he said. “The second goal is to become a world loppet master. Loppets are cross-country skiing marathons, and in order to become a loppet master, you have to get 10 of the 30 races done on three different continents, and ideally I want to finish one or two races a year.”
While he leaves behind a strong legacy in para-snowboarding, Mosher said he couldn’t have done it without help from his community.
“I really want to thank the community of Whistler for supporting me. It’s been a spectacular journey and I’m very proud to have called Whistler my home for the past 20 years,” he said. “It’s just a true honour to be able to represent our community and country abroad and I look forward to continuing that as an ambassador moving forward. I am also very grateful to the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Canada Snowboard for helping develop snowboarding as a sport for people living with a disability.”