Grant Beall learned to ski at Achieve Tahoe in 2004 when he was 7 years old. A recent amputee, Grant was taught how to 3-track – skiing on a single ski while using hand-held outriggers, crutches with small skis on the end, for balance.
“Learning how to ski as an amputee played a pivotal role in my career as an athlete. The confidence and independence it instilled in me pushed me to pursue anything I had an interest in, such as collegiate swimming and water polo, wrestling, rock climbing, downhill mountain biking, and surfing to name a few,” Grant says. “As a child with a disability, people tend to watch over and monitor you closely, not always allowing you the same amount of freedom as normal kids. However, when you are independent on the mountain you gain this ultimate sense of freedom. Moreover, the ability to ski side-by-side with, and sometimes better than, able-bodied kids your age brings a new confidence and levels the playing field.”
After completing college at the University of California Santa Barbara, Grant decided to return to Achieve Tahoe this winter as an intern, to share the same confidence he gained on snow with other skiers with disabilities. While interning, he’s had the opportunity to work with Quinn Bossow, a 13 year-old amputee who is also a 3-track skier.
Quinn originally learned to ski at Big Bear when he was 8 years old, as a 2-track stand-up skier, skiing on his prosthesis. However, when he was 10, he came to Achieve Tahoe and switched to 3-track skiing so he could have more independence on the mountain.
“[When 2-track skiing] I couldn’t make turns both ways, which was really hard. In Feb 2020, I tried 3-tracking for the first time. It was really tiring at first, but I was able to make turns better and I started really improving,” Quinn said. “My goal was to take TLC (Tree Line Cirque), a blue lift, and ski down the mountain from there. I didn’t realize how much more of the mountain there was to ski until last year when I finally started being able to do all the blue slopes and got to see the lake from the top of the mountain”
While Quinn has enjoyed working with all of his Achieve Tahoe instructors over the past few years, skiing with Grant this year has been a highlight because it has shown him just how much there is to explore as a 3-track skier.
Quinn says, “All of my Achieve instructors have been amazing – most of them ski on one leg, even if they are not amputees, with outriggers – but it is really cool skiing with Grant, who is an amputee, and seeing how good he is on one leg. He gets how it feels to have to do everything on one leg and I like seeing how good he is. I didn’t think I’d ever care about doing black slopes, but now I really want to be able to do those, too. I also want to get better at my turns so I can do more skiing between the trees.”
For Grant, working with Quinn has been a highlight of his internship.
“Quinn is a very smart and capable young man. His eagerness to learn and his resiliency make him a wonderful person to work with,” Grant says. “Our time together has allowed me to reflect on my time learning to 3-track. It’s easy to forget just how difficult it is when you have been doing it for almost two decades. Relearning the progression and reflecting on what techniques helped me has provided new insights to my own skiing, while also giving me a chance to leave a positive impact on a young athlete by sharing the knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years.”
Quinn’s family has also been positively impacted by Quinn’s skiing.
Quinn’s mom, Karen, says, “I grew up skiing with my father and had such great memories of ski trips with him. I wanted to be able to create similar memories with my family, but wasn’t sure we’d ever be able to have them as my husband didn’t ski and Quinn only had one leg. They both learned simultaneously, and now Quinn is a better skier than both my husband and me! This may sound corny, but it fills me with so much joy when I ride the chair lift with my husband and all three children and we ski down the slopes together. Achieve has given us the opportunity to have fun together in an outdoor activity. Achieve Tahoe is truly a life-changing organization.”
Thank you Quinn and Grant for sharing your stories with the Achieve Tahoe community!
Support Quinn and Grant in the Ability Challenge!
You can support our adaptive programs and help more people with disabilities experience the positive impact of outdoor recreation by donating to Grant and Quinn’s Ability Challenge Pages, or by donating to any of our Challengers whose story you connect with!