Some say native Minnesotan Monte Meier is the “fastest ski racer on one leg.” As part of the U.S. Ski Team, Monte competed in five Paralympic Games and reached the podium five times, including winning a Gold Medal in Nagano, Japan. He has also medaled in 14 World Championships and won the U.S. National title 11 times. In 2012 Monte was inducted in the National Disabled Ski Hall of Fame and has won many other awards and honors in his long career.
Monte lost his leg at the age of eight in a garden tiller accident. The first question he asked his parents after the accident was “Can I still run?” Their enthusiastic and positive response gave Monte the green light to purse an active, vibrant life. In fact, the tenacious youngster was riding his bike only a week after leaving the hospital.
Although Monte was a wrestler in high school, he became enamored with the sport of ski racing after graduation. He joined the ski racing team at Afton Alps and continued to spend the next 19 years racing, soon at the national and international level. Eventually Monte was chosen as team captain as recognition of his natural leadership skills and because he was a role model for other adaptive athletes. In 2010, Monte carried the flag for the closing ceremonies of the Paralympics, a huge honor.
Adaptive skiers use a variety of different gear. The Mono-Ski, Bi-Ski and Sit-Ski are all used by those who ski in a sitting position, while using special poles called “outriggers” with are small skis attached to the bottom of ski poles. Skiers like Monte often stand up on one ski, with outriggers attached to their arms. Several Adaptive Ski programs exist today in the Midwest, including those at the Twin Cities-based Courage Center and theMidwest Ski and Ride Program
After his retirement from ski racing in 2010, Monte Meier attacked the “next chapter” with just as much gusto. “I definitely left it all out on the table, so there are not regrets about retirement. I’m looking forward to the next chapter and whatever that may be,” said Meier. Meier currently works in the Midwest in the financial industry.
U.S. athlete Monte Meier passes a gate during the second run of the Men’s slalom standing of the 2010 Winter Paralympics at Whistler Creekside on Monday, March 15, 2010. (AP Photo/KEYSTONE/Dominic Favre)