What support looks like, Adaptive skiing as a quadriplegic with High Fives Foundation

From The Edge of Impossible to X Games Superpipe, Tony Schmiesing’s Journey with High Fives Foundation.

In the vast realm of adaptive sports, there are stories that transcend the boundaries of physical limitations. Tony Schmiesing’s journey as a quadriplegic adaptive skier stands as a testament to the indomitable human spirit and the transformative power of support. Through the unwavering assistance of the High Fives Foundation, Tony has not only defied the odds but has also redefined what’s possible for adaptive athletes. In this blog post, we unravel the remarkable narrative of Tony Schmiesing, highlighting the pivotal role played by High Fives in his pursuit of dreams and achievements once thought impossible.

Tony’s resilient spirit took root in the face of adversity when he became a C4-C5 quadriplegic due to a spinal cord injury suffered in the water at the beach. Despite the challenges, Tony’s inherent surf/skate/ski DNA propelled him towards a life marked by endless surprises and beauty. It was in the embrace of the High Fives Foundation that Tony found the support to nurture his love for skiing, particularly adaptive skiing, in ways that would change the course of his life.

High Fives Foundation’s assistance goes beyond financial aid; it extends to empowering athletes to dream big and achieve the seemingly impossible. With over $24,000 in support since 2011, High Fives has been a driving force behind Tony’s journey. Notably, in the spring of 2014, a Winter Empowerment grant from High Fives enabled Tony to embark on “The Edge of Impossible” trip to Points North Heli-Adventures in Cordova, Alaska. This adventure was a pinnacle moment, captured in an uplifting video that showcased Tony experiencing the weightlessness of pure Alaskan powder skiing.

The High Fives Foundation’s impact on Tony’s life reaches far beyond financial aid. Through the Arcade Goal Belt Program, High Fives provided a structured framework that guided Tony through his recovery process after a life-altering injury. This unique program, similar to a karate belt system, allowed Tony to set milestones and celebrate achievements with gold stars on his Arcade belt. From conquering a twelve-foot wall-ride at Alpine Meadows to being the only adaptive athlete to take on the 22ft walls of the XGames Superpipe, Tony’s achievements reflect not only his determination but also the incredible support system provided by High Fives.

Tony’s journey with High Fives Foundation also highlights the power of community and mentorship. The foundation connected Tony with experienced mentors, fostering an environment where he could exchange stories, gain inspiration, and push the boundaries of what he thought was possible. The sense of Ohana – a term for family in Hawaiian culture – permeates throughout Tony’s narrative, acknowledging the collective support that has allowed him to dream big and achieve feats once considered unattainable.

As Tony Schmiesing continues to navigate the realms of adaptive skiing and beyond, he stands as a beacon of inspiration for all. High Fives Foundation’s commitment to empowering lives and fostering dreams has played an integral role in Tony’s journey. Mucho Mahalo to all who have supported the foundation and athletes like Tony – you are the true Ohana, a community that uplifts, empowers, and celebrates the triumph of the human spirit.