As an advanced mountain climber, Ryan Titchener always recognized there was a chance his life's passion would result in injury.
But when a boulder the size of a washing machine crushed his spine in the backcountry a few years ago, the resulting paralysis of his legs left him not only fighting for his life but also fighting to redefine it.
Before the accident, Titchener had been an up-and-coming mountain guide. After, he felt he'd lost his deep connection to the outdoors. But as he worked to rehabilitate his body, the Jasper community came together to raise funds so Titchener could afford a sit ski — a specialized piece of equipment that allows people with physical disabilities to hit the slopes.
"I went from feeling disconnected to feeling a part of the mountains again," he says. “It wasn’t about getting back to who I was before. It was about reinventing myself. It’s about accepting all the little achievements along the way. If someone sees that who is in my position, it might give them the motivation to get back outdoors, and see that sit-skiing is an option."