Mike grew up with a passion for snowboarding and couldn’t get enough of it. In September 2002, his life changed forever after being involved in a traumatic boating accident. While wakeboarding with friends at a local lake in Castaic, California, the ski rope wrapped around his ankle, causing the instant amputation of his left leg.
During Mike’s recovery, he began to dedicate the majority of his time towards of number of sports and hobbies. He immediately took a liking to one hobby in particular: woodworking. He discovered the unique craft one weekend while building a doghouse for a new puppy. From that point forward he was hooked, and began to dedicate his life to learning the art of fine furniture. He began to collect tools and machines and before he knew it, he was running a successful furniture business out of his garage. Mike also taught himself how to design projects with the use of computer programs. Shortly after that, he was creating fine furniture for A-list celebrities and one-of-a-kind replicas for unique places like the Ronald Reagan Museum and Library.
In 2010, Mike received a call from the coach of the National Sports Center for the Disabled inviting him to come to Colorado to train with a team of disabled snowboarders. Mike had to decide if he was going to continue building his life in California, or give it all up to chase his dream of being a competitive snowboarder. Mike ultimately made the decision to pursue snowboarding, packing up his wood shop and selling all of his tools to help fund his move.
Shortly after, Mike became one of the top adaptive snowboarders in the world, winning the first ever overall title for the International Paralympic Committee Alpine Skiing Para-Snowboard World Cup circuit in 2014. Mike also took home the silver medal as part of a 1-2-3 Team USA sweep at the Paralympic Winter Games Sochi 2014. Mike is currently pursuing a medal in both snowboard cross (SBX) and banked slalom for the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
Mike 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. 5833t NS 11/17. 36USC220506.
Photo by Benjamin Edwards