THE MAN AND THE INJURY
Meet Aaron Baker. Aaron is a recovering quadriplegic, completely paralyzed from the chin down after a motocross accident in 1999. While approaching a large jump, Aaron's bike malfunctioned, causing him to lose valuable speed and was flung over the front of the motorcycle while still airborne. Aaron impacted the ground headfirst, breaking cervical vertebrae 4, 6, and completely shattering the 5th cervical vertebra. Aaron told the paramedics not to remove his helmet, as he knew his neck had been broken. A team of neurosurgeons, headed by Dr. John Lee, at Los Robles Regional Hospital fused the broken vertebrae with a titanium plate and 5 screws. Dr. Lee's prognosis was that Aaron would have a "one in a million" chance of ever regaining any type of function.
Now, 20 years post-injury Aaron has accredited to his name, numerous world's firsts including: multiple cycling marathons, 2 cross-country cycling tours, (pedaling a total of 10,000+ miles), and multiple adaptive National Cycling titles. Aaron is an adventure athlete, SCI Ambassador for Red Bull/Wings For Life organization, Shield Healthcare Spinal Cord Injury Lifestyle Specialist and Co-Founder of C.O.R.E. Centers LLC. C.O.R.E. (Center Of Restorative Exercise). Yet, Aaron has still not been able to return to the mountains to slide down snow.
Aaron takes his trike down to two wheels - Photo: PINKBIKE
ROAD TO RECOVERY
What makes snow so challenging for Aaron is that his "muscles are extremely impaired
and makes functional movement i.e. standing, walking, reaching and grasping very difficult requiring a wheelchair 60% of the time, and a walker and/or cane at home, or during
exercise," says Baker.
"Snow sports were a large part of my life prior to my injury but have since been inaccessible to me. I have tried over the years experimenting with different ways of adapting to the mountain - assisted sit-ski, toboggan, sledding... None of which unfortunately, worked for me," continues Baker.
SNO-GO has been working with various adaptive sports groups since our inception and we just had to give this a go. "If it will work for Aaron, we know we will have the potential to change hundreds, if not thousands of lives," says SNO-GO Director of Marketing, Rob Aseltine. It didn't take long for us to ship Aaron a bike and his feedback came even quicker.
WATCH AARON GET BACK ON THE SLOPES
"This ski bike is a game changer! It has blown my mind wide-open and
allowed me to feel the flow of carving fresh snow again. My first impression was the
stability and geometry of the bike. The orientation between the contact points – where you grip the handlebars and place your feet is perfect. My weight was distributed in a very well-
balanced way… This is the only way I can attempt motion (stability before mobility). While
keeping my feet, knees, hips and shoulders in alignment I was able to stand with a stable-base posture and allow the bike to do the rest. Since discovering the SNO-GO Bike, my winter world has been re-opened! I now watch the weather channel for snow storms." - Aaron Baker.