Military to the Mountains Athlete Highlight | Tyler Rollins

Bearden, AR | Arkansas National Guard 


Photo Credit: Chris Bartowski of Generikal Designs

Tyler Rollins, from Bearden, Arkansas was nine and a half miles through the 10 mile Tough Mudder race in Okemah, Oklahoma, when he tried to slide through an obstacle. A few moments later, Rollins found himself stuck face down in water, unable to move. When he was extracted from the water and taken to a local hospital, Rollins was told that he had suffered a cervical spinal cord injury, and that he would be in a wheelchair.

Rollins grew up playing sports, and his athletic DNA wouldn’t let this news get him down. He immediately started trying to figure out different adaptive sports avenues that would fill his competitive spirit.
This Summer Rollins uprooted his life in Arkansas and moved to Reno, Nevada to join the High Fives Foundation sponsored quad rugby team, the Reno High Fives. Rollins quickly became a crucial member of the team and has plans to figure out a permanent situation and join the team full time.
This same competitive spirit drove Rollins when he was invited to join the Military to the Mountains Program. The second he received the invite he put his nose to the ground and started training with the City of Reno-Parks, Recreation, and Community Services for his week on the slopes of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows.

Photo Credit: Chris Bartowski of Generikal Designs

After much anticipation, Rollins hit the hill at Alpine Meadows and he was full throttle from the start. With a quick practice run on the bottom of the run, he was ready to hit the Subway lift in his fresh new Sync hooded sweatshirt.

“The first day of skiing was more about learning the ski and weight shifts more than anything,” said Rollins. “Although I got to open it up off of the Meadows lift in the afternoon. I hadn’t experienced speed like that in awhile.”
After a second day ski cancellation due to wind, Tyler was ready to hit the slopes on day three. With knowledge of weight shifts and how the ski functioned, Rollins was ready to enjoy the fresh snow on the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows trails. Rollins and his Achieve Tahoe instructor Keegan completed multiple laps on the Hot Wheels area while other Military to the Mountains participants cheered from the lift.
“The difference from the first day to today was mind blowing,” exclaimed Rollins. “Today I was just skiing. We saw somewhere we wanted to go, and that’s where we went!”

Photo Credit: Chris Bartowski of Generikal Designs

Rollins plans to look into making the Tahoe Basin his home. He has found a true love for skiing to pair with his love for quad rugby.
Military to the Mountains: Injured United States Military Veterans are provided the opportunity to train at a 9-week program at the Adaptive Training Foundation in Dallas, Texas and Paralympic Sport in Reno, Nevada preparing for a week of skiing at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, instructed by Achieve Tahoe Adaptive Ski Program – 100% fueled and inspired by the High Fives Foundation. Learn more at

Leave a Comment