Owen Pick is dreaming of competing at the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games after taking a huge leap in his burgeoning snowboarding career.
The former Mildenhall College pupil was handed a memorable experience after being invited to compete in the Winter X-Games in Colorado at the end of last month.
And after giving a promising performance in a specialised IPC category at the competition, finishing seventh out of 12, the 23-year-old is confident of reaching his goal of representing Great Britain in Pyeongchang, South Korea in a little over three years’ time.
“It was an absolutely awesome experience but also the most intimidating and biggest stage I’ve ever performed on,” he said. “Thankfully everything went well and it was a crazy experience.
“It was a great start to my snowboarding career and this should get me a few more invites to events now which is exciting.
“My aim is to keep getting my Paralympic ranking points up, hopefully if I can do that I can go to the Paralympics in 2018.”
His appearance in the extreme event is the latest move in the inspirational athlete’s quest to conquer adversity after a life changing moment almost four years ago.
In August 2011, the Red Lodge resident had his lower right leg removed 18 months after having it almost blown off while serving Queen and Country in Afghanistan.
Although his leg was initially saved by a team of doctors back home in England, Pick was left with the daunting decision of having it removed after encountering problems in the aftermath.
But instead of allowing the ordeal to ruin his life, Pick mastered the extreme water sport of wakeboarding, before a chance invite from Blesma, a national charity that supports service personnel who have lost limbs and the use of limbs in the honourable service, saw him faced with his latest challenge.
“I got offered a trip by Blesma to learn snowboarding, which in turn has seen me compete in it,” he added.
“I competed in the French nationals and came second so I thought I’d keep doing it.”
“If I want to do something then I will, no one can tell me I can’t, that is just the way I am.”
But while Pick distanced himself from trying to be an inspiration, he was happy for his journey to be looked upon as a positive message to others who may find themselves in a similar position.
“If I don’t laugh I’ll cry, I’ll always try to look a the positives in life,” he said.
“I don’t try to be an inspiration but I can see how others may look at me in that way.
“If I can be a way to help others get on with their lives after a traumatic event like I had then great.”