October 27, 2023 | Words by Soranne Floarea
In 2014, Trevor Kennison broke his back in the Colorado backcountry. A few years later, paralyzed from the waist down and strapped into his sit-ski, he was hucking off cliffs in the backcountry at CMH Purcell.
In a story chock full of inspiration, athleticism, and pure stoke, the award-winning feature documentary Full Circle by Level 1 Productions showcases Trevor’s journey from injury, to becoming the first person to ever send Jackson Hole’s famed Corbet’s Couloir on a sit-ski.
The story: Where it all began
Before his accident, Trevor was just another snowboarding hobbyist. A plumber by trade, his life became unrecognizable on November 15, 2014, when a fall in the backcountry left him wheelchair-bound. With an uncertain future, unknown goals, and hazy direction, one day, Trevor tried sit-skiing for the first time. And his life changed forever.
Having fallen in love with sit-skiing, Trevor once again found passion, and with it, purpose. His sit-skiing progression gave him goals; ambitions that took him to Jackson Hole Wyoming, where he competed as an unknown amateur at the Kings and Queens of Corbet’s competition. Leaping 60 feet into the couloir, Trevor became the first sit-skier to launch into Corbet’s at the competition, going viral and kicking off his career as a professional sit-skiing athlete.
The movie: A few firsts later
Little did he know it at the time, but competing in the Kings and Queens of Corbet’s competition would create a connection between Trevor’s story and that of Barry Corbet, the namesake of Corbet’s Couloir and a fearless skier, mountaineer, and Jackson Hole legend, who broke his back in a 1968 accident.
Full Circle also reveals Barry’s untold story as a leader in the disability community. Having lived parallel lives in so many ways, their combined stories show hope in life after injury and celebrate the growth that can come from tragedy.
In the years that followed his accident, Trevor finished top-five in both the super-G and slalom at the World Para Alpine Skiing World Championships, became the first male adaptive athlete on GoPro’s Snow Team roster, and the first sit skier to ever hit the X Games Big Air Jump. And that’s just the beginning because six years after he broke his back, he returned to the site of his accident to attempt landing the world’s first double backflip on a sit-ski. What happens next? You’ll have to watch the film to find out.
BEHIND THE SCENES – Clockwise, from top: Trevor and his crew load the heli in Golden, BC, for their springtime shoot at CMH Purcell; Pro skiers Parker White (green jacket) and Birk Irving (yellow jacket) goof around with Trevor between takes; The view from Trevor’s sit-ski before dropping into Purcell’s expansive terrain.
Inspired? Heli-ski at CMH Purcell this winter
Want to send it on the same slopes as Trevor? Book your day at CMH Purcell. Purcell offers day heli-skiing and is located near Banff, AB (last-minute inquiries can usually be accommodated). It’s also an easy add-on for anyone taking a road trip down BC’s famed Powder Highway.
Plus, at CMH Purcell, the skiing and riding are unlimited. Translation: if you end up skiing or riding more than the guaranteed vertical, additional runs are free. An all-you-can-ski buffet? Yes, please.
Did you know?
Sit-skis are adaptive devices that enable wheelchair users to ski. Following the 2020-21 season, the National Ski Areas Association of the USA reported that over half of its member resorts had some sort of adaptive snowsports program in place. In the Bow Valley where CMH is headquartered, organizations like Rocky Mountain Adaptive provide individuals of all ages and abilities the opportunity to learn and participate in over 20 different sports and recreational activities, including sit-skiing.