Discovery Channel in town to tape Indian Hills snow stuntman, paralyzed from the waist down
April 7, 2003
Indian Hills resident Trevor Snowden was carving turns in a half pipe at Heavenly Ski Resort, kicking up rooster tails of snow spray. His friend Shaun Palmer was also enjoying the sunny, windless conditions.
“I would carve the wall, and he would air over my head,” Snowden said. “It was pretty crazy.”
What’s crazy is Snowden — paralyzed from the waist down — was in a wheelchair.
“It’s nice to do something a little different,” he said with a shrug.
Snowden’s spine was severed at a “big air” snowboard competition in Washington on March 29, 1997.
But despite losing the use of his legs, Snowden has continued to push himself to extremes. He now performs exhibition jumps as a “wheelchair stuntman.”
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On Tuesday, a Discovery Channel film crew met Snowden at Heavenly to re-enact the accident as part of a series about traumatic injuries and amazing recoveries.
“The storyline requires an inspirational story with some kind of comeback, and (Snowden) is probably the most inspirational we’ve talked to,” said Travis Gray, a producer for BrainBox Productions, the company contracted for the project.
Producers will use LightWave 3-D and AfterEffects 2-D animation programs to examine Snowden’s accident, injury and his will to continue pushing the envelope.
“At the point of impact, we’ll approach his body then dissolve inside and show exactly the damage that was done,” Gray said.
The series, called “Vital Scan,” will air in late summer or fall.
Snowden said. “I’ve been waiting for someone to step up to the plate and make a film because there are some issues,” listing safety standards and the tendency of young people to go too far, too fast.
“You don’t have to start at zero and go to 100,” he said.
Snowden is developing the custom off-road chairs he uses, the first one paid for by Palmer, a professional snowboarder, skier and six-time Winter X-Games gold medalist.
A combination of BMX bike, electric wheelchair and motocross bikes and quads, Snowden calls his creation the “ElectroQuad.”
He is working with a Chinese company to develop a brushless electric motor for the rig.
“It laces up to regular bicycle wheel spokes, and you have lots of torque,” he said.
He is planning to ride dirt BMX tracks this summer, like the one at the Edmonds Sports Complex.
In the meantime Snowden, also a musician, is enjoying hearing his first song on the radio. Called “You Can Have It All,” it’s a country song being played on KTHX 100.1 FM.
“It’s about losing everything,” he said. “You lose your truck, lose your girlfriend, lose you job. After I was paralyzed, I wrote it.”
But Snowden’s story is about overcoming adversity.
“The positive side is, you can still go on with your life,” he said. “And in a more extreme way than wheelchair tennis or wheelchair basketball. You, know, you can do something a little more radical. It’s always nice to try something new and step it up a notch.”