Adaptive Advancement: March Winter Empowerment Grant Recipients

Adaptive Advancement: March Winter Empowerment Grant Recipients

The High Fives Foundation – Winter Empowerment Program Service disburses board approved grants to disabled winter action sports athletes participating in winter adaptive sports or recovering from a life-altering injury. In March 2013 the High Fives Foundations Board of Directors Grant Selection Committee approved the following grants for four athletes totaling just under $20,000.

To date, the Winter Empowerment Fund has assisted 42 athletes from 12 states in nine respective funding categories which include: living expenses, insurance, travel, health, healing network, adaptive equipment, winter equipment, programs and stoke (positive energy, outlook and attitude).

The four grant recipients for the month of March are:


Growing up with the ski resorts in his backyard, Cody cultivated a love for snowboarding unlike any other. While on a snowboarding trip in Lake Tahoe with his best friends Cody had a snowboarding accident that left him with fractures in his neck, both hips and the inability to move his body on his own. After several weeks Cody regained arm and leg movement and now spends his days working like a machine in rehabilitation. His motivations are his loving wife, his adorable kids (3 and 4 years old) and his new little baby girl that will be born this July.

Total Winter Empowerment Grant for Cody Walker: $12,000

Details: Healing Network Physical Therapy: $1,500 (Eight additional days at University of Utah In-Patient)

*Attention Utah residents, support Cody this Monday, April 1 in Cottonwood Heights, UT at the Support Cody Night Out! Join the event on Facebook or check out the website.


Born and raised in the great Northern Catskills, Gus Shuster is a cross-country runner and a skier for the Hunter Mountain Freestyle A-Team at Hunter Mountain, New York. An up-and-coming skier on the East Coast circuit, Gus suffered a life-altering injury when he landed on his back during a practice run in his second competition of the 2012-2013 season. The accident resulted in a teardrop fracture to C5 with an epidural hematoma in his C7 and T1 vertebrae. Through hard work in his physical therapy Gus plans on making a full recovery and ultimately making it to the Freestyle Nationals next season.

Total Winter Empowerment Grant for Gus Shuster:$4,045

Details: Healing Network – Physical Therapy: $1,830.00 (36 Sessions at Ostrander Physical Therapy)Acupuncture: $2,215.00 (24 Sessions with Carol Thompson)


Landon broke his back July of 2010 while competing on his mountain bike. In the summer Landon’s passion is mountain biking and in the winter, skiing filled that same passion. The Winter Empowerment Fund enabled Landon to return to the mountain and be with his friends and family. His goal of making the 2014 Paralympics was accelerated by the High Fives Foundation, but now, his hard working, never give-up attitude is going to get him there.

Total Winter Empowerment Grant for Landon McGauley: $2,800

Details: Healing Network Travel: $1,000.00(British Columbia to Lake Tahoe for TRAiNS Freestyle Ski & Snowboard Contest)Ski Camp Program Fees: Coaching Fees $1,200.00 (with Josh Dueck and Alana Nichols)Stoke: Video Production $600 (Nik David)


A C4-5 quadriplegic as the result of the spinal cord injury suffered at a beach where he grew up, and currently battling Syringmyelia, Tony’s tenacious surf/skate/ski DNA has pushed him through all sorts of obstacles and has lead him into an endlessly surprising and beautiful life. Tony was bitten hard by the bi-ski bug when he hooked up with the folks over at Disabled Sports USA – Far West at Alpine Meadows and the stoke hasn’t subsided. With assistance from Winter Empowerment Fund, he looks to really push things forward in his skiing.

Total Winter Empowerment Grant for Tony Schmiesing:$772

Details: Healing Network – Program Fees: $680.00 (Four Lessons at Disabled Sports USA Far West. Alpine Meadows)Healing Network: $92 (One Acupuncture Session with Kaila Cruttenden / Elemental Back and Body).

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