Evan Strong grew up in Hawaii, an avid skateboarder who became a sponsored professional athlete at age 13. Then, just a few weeks before his 18th birthday, as he was riding a motorcycle, a drunk driver smashed into him. His left leg was amputated.
“When you’re given a second chance to live, it gives you a very powerful perspective,” he says. He decided to try new experiences - and snow sports, for a child of the “Aloha” islands, would be new. Evan moved to Lake Tahoe to try snowboarding. “I got a job at a ski resort and got to ride 100 days my first year. I fell in love with it.”
Strong began competing in adaptive snowboard competitions in 2008 at the World Snowboard Federation’s adaptive snowboard championships at Copper Mountain, Colorado. His list of successes since then has included first place wins at World Cup races in Orcieres, France; Lake Louise, Canada; Wanaka, New Zealand, and Nakiska, British Columbia. He is the 2012 International Ski Federation (FIS) World Champion, the 2011-12 Overall World Cup Champion, and an X-Games gold medalist.
He also helped bring snowboarding to the Paralympics, performing a skateboard exhibition at the Opening Ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Games, and then competing in the Paralympic test event in Sochi, Russia, in 2013, where he won first place.
Evan credits his fellow boarder Amy Purdy and her organization, Adaptive Action Sports, for helping him grow in his sport. Now he “gives back” to those who helped him achieve his goals, teaching snowboarding to injured veterans and raising money at charity events such as the San Diego Triathlon Challenge.
Off the slopes, Strong still enjoys skateboarding, and he’s also a mountain biker and rock climber. Being close to nature is important to him. Evan and his wife Mariah live in a yurt that they built, a kind of giant circular tent, and they own an organic vegetarian restaurant called The Fix For Foodies. “I'm extremely nutritionally conscious,” he says.
Update from Sochi: Evan took home a gold medal in snowboard cross.
Photo courtesy of NBC Sports.