By Jean Doran Matua, Editor
The World Para Snow Sports hosted the Para Snowboard World Cup in Colere, Italy, on April 1-2. Athletes from 16 countries gathered in Colere for the final two races of the 2020-21 World Cup season. There, front and center, was Kimball’s own “Monster” Mike Schultz.
In Schultz’s class, SB-LL1 boarder-cross, he was again in the company of friends who also are at the top of their game: Noah Elliott of Team USA and Chris Vos of the Netherlands. Tyler Turner of Canada joined them at the top this year.
These two days in Italy were, in reality, the entire competitive season for Schultz this year. He earned silver on the first day of competition, and came in fourth in a tight pack on the second day. These top world athletes are more family than rivals, although the competitive spirit is strong.
But Schultz is far from idle when he’s not competing. When he’s not training at home or at Powder Ridge, or snowbiking, dirt-biking, horseback riding, or waterskiing, he is in his workshop refining his BioDapt equipment and coming up with new ideas.
After winning a gold and a silver at the 2018 Paralympics in PyeongChang, Korea, it’s fair to say that Schultz was as proud of his BioDapt equipment used by so many top athletes there as he was of his own achievements.
Last month, U.S. Paralympics Snowboarding wrote about the importance of tech equipment for para snowboarders.
Schultz is quoted in the article. “For Paralympic athletes, the equipment is extremely important. It’s basically the tool that bridges the gap from what’s not possible to what’s possible physically. For amputees, the equipment is front and center of what makes a difference for us.”
The article goes on that all equipment used at the international competition level must be reviewed one month before an athlete’s first event; and all equipment must adhere to the World Para Snowboard Equipment Rules and Regulations.
“Most of the U.S. Para snowboard team uses equipment produced by BioDapt, a company founded and owned by Schultz, which designs and manufactures prosthetics for amputees including more than 100 wounded warriors and numerous Paralympians. Many of the U.S. Para snowboarders competing at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, as well as athletes from seven different countries, used his equipment. His company produces advanced equipment that can withstand the impact of various action sports and is much sturdier than prosthetics worn on an everyday basis, meaning it allows for better performance.” (Stuart Lieberman is the author of this article.”
All of the gold medalists at Colere this year were using BioDapt equipment.
Grants from non-profit organizations like Wiggle Your Toes, 50 Legs, or Challenged Athletes Foundation can help defray the cost of BioDapt equipment which is not usually covered by insurance.
There’s another star athlete in the family now, as well: daughter Lauren is excelling at gymnastics, so you may find Schultz at a meet, or helping her train at home.
Through it all, Schultz remains intensely focused now on the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games in Beijing, just 11 months away. “I’m more motivated than ever to chase this dream,” says Schultz.