Keith Gabel moved to Ogden, Utah, when he was 12 years old. From that day forward, he spent his life in the mountains. Keith started skiing the same day he moved to Utah and instantly fell in love with snow sports. When he was 15 years old, he took his first two paychecks and bought his first snowboard setup.
In 2005, Keith was involved in an industrial accident. Following a crush injury involving 2,000 pounds of hydraulic pressure, he required four blood transfusions, developing a blood clot in his left lung; he lost his leg below the knee. Three short months after his amputation, Keith was back on a snowboard, living life the only way he knew how.
It wasn’t until the 2010-11 season (Keith’s sixth season riding with an amputation) that he found out about competitive para-snowboarding and began training with the National Ability Center in Park City, Utah. Keith progressed quickly through the international ranks, earning a spot on the 2014 U.S. Paralympic Team. Keith ultimately won the bronze medal in the sport’s Paralympic debut at the Paralympic Winter Games Sochi 2014. Keith is currently pursuing a medal in both snowboard cross (SBX) and banked slalom for the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
In addition to competitive snowboarding, Keith is also a public and motivational speaker. In 2014, Keith was chosen as one of only two U.S. Paralympians in the nation to be a United States Olympic Committee Team for Tomorrow Ambassador. Responsibilities for this position consisted of traveling to various YMCAs, schools, Boys and Girls clubs etc. to share his story and the Paralympic spirit on behalf of the United States Olympic Committee.
Keith also works closely with the organization Team Semper Fi and The America’s Fund as a certified coach to help continue the development of athletes.
Keith works closely with The Hartford, a Founding Partner of U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee, helping to positively change public attitudes and perceptions about disability.
The Hartford® is The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries including issuing companies Hartford Life Insurance Company and Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company. Home office is Hartford, CT. 5833a NS 11/17. 36USC220506.
Photo by Benjamin Edwards