What it really takes to be a top Paralympic skier – on snow and in the mind

16 May 2014 - posted by Formthotics HQ

We couldn't have been prouder to see Formthotics Ambassador Adam Hall, on the snow during the Sochi Winter Paralympic Games 2014 – you may have caught our updates on the Formthotics Facebook page. We break down what helps make New Zealand alpine ski racer Adam such a success not just on his skis, but as an inspirational person.

Read more about Adam’s background.

A is for – A lot of training

Adam hasn’t experienced a summer in years. Where it is winter, Adam is there, that’s the price he pays to be a Paralympic medal winner who trains on snow all year.

During the New Zealand summer months Adam is based at Winter Park in Colorado. He spends 5 days a week on the snow training and 6 days a week working out at the gym, including Pilates classes.

‘As an athlete it is only natural to train as hard and smart as you can to pursue the achievements and goals you want to accomplish’, says Adam.

To add to the mix, a lot of time is spent on the road competing on the world cup circuit and North American race circuit. Any rest is precious for Adam.

D is for – Dedication

Adam requires the support of specialised equipment, specific to his needs, to help him perform at his best on and off the snow. It’s an ongoing journey to source what works and what doesn’t – innovation, time and vision are all stepping stones to finding solutions. Formthotics have helped.

‘Formthotics really has played a key role in the design of my adaptive equipment and making sure I have the best modern equipment in the world for my needs’.

‘As an adaptive athlete, making adaptations to the equipment in which I ski with is essential, Formthotics has really lead this area of research and development’, says Adam.

The exciting part for Adam are the endless opportunities to fine-tune his performance.

When speaking of working with Formthotics, Adam says ‘having an open mind and looking outside the box is something that has given us great successes’.

David Boyd, Foot Science International Director, had the chance to sit down with Attitude Live TV to share his insight inbehind the scenes while at Sochi.

David Boyd with AttitudeLive TV

A is for – Admiration at the games

Even though Adam was fighting sickness while racing at the games, Adam’s performance was world class. This takes a barrel of courage, earning great respect by many.

Adam was also the honouree flag bearer for the New Zealand team.

‘Having the opportunity to carry your country's flag, represent your team in front of a sold out stadium of tens-of-thousands of live fans, plus the millions tuning into the TV coverage is really an incredible feeling’.

‘For me, the best part of the games was again getting the opportunity to wear that Silver Fern alongside such a great, successful team and represent our country (New Zealand) at the highest level there is – it’s the second biggest sporting event in the world behind the Olympics. I slid everything I possibly had down those mountains’, says Adam. This is what it means to be a Paralympian, an incredible role to play.

If you missed Adam or just want to catch his awesome-ness again, visit Attitude Live TV for a detailed list of races, photos and videos.

M is for – Motivated for life

Despite setbacks, physical, personal and technical challenges, Adam has continued to set and achieve challenging goals.

It’s been a successful year. Outside the games, Adam has had a very successful 2013/14 season – with a total of 6 world cup podiums throughout the year. An outstanding achievement has been winning the World Cup Slalom Globe, an extremely prestigious award in ski racing – an award which many athletes rate higher than winning Olympic and world championship medals.

For the future, Adam has his sights set on the South Korea Paralympic Winter Games in 2018 and is about to begin another 4 year campaign towards this. ‘I feel I have so much room for improvement and continue to progress. Moving forward I look forward to competing at the 2015 World Championships in Canada in which I have my goals set on a three peat’.

’As they say success is a journey not a destination. I have much more to give and look forward to another journey towards South Korea 2018.’ Wise words from the inspirational sportsman.

Adam Hall: Sochi Winter Paralympic Games snapshot

  • Entered and competed in 3 different events: Super G, Super Combined and Slalom
  • Best result, 4th in Super Combined, 2 tenths off the podium
  • 7th in Slalom after falling sick just hours before starting. Adam crashed around 6 turns from the finish in Super G which was unfortunate as he was leading by close to 2 tenths – and skiing possibly towards a gold medal if not a podium finish
  • Adam was really happy with how he was performing before he got sick and was having an incredible run in Super G before crashing at around an all mighty 105km/hr. He says he was probably having the best run of my life in a fast and challenging course, with trying conditions