At this very moment, Tyler Carter is likely doing one of four things: Eating, sleeping, working at the United States Olympic & Paralympic Museum or racing down the slopes in Winter Park.
It’s like Groundhog Day and he loves every second.
Training for 2022
This Colorado Springs-based Paralympic ski racer placed 27th in giant slalom during the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games and 19th in slalom during the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
Four years later, he’s training tirelessly in hopes of earning a spot on the 2022 team headed to Beijing in February.
“I thought the third time, this will be the easiest,” he said. “I know what to expect.”
Then a couple of injuries and a global pandemic hit.
“This is definitely the most nerve-wracking one,” he said. “It’s been a really weird few years.”
But that hasn’t slowed him down in the slightest. During the off-season (May-November), he hits the gym six days a week, to get “as strong, as fast and as prepared” as he can.
“Once we get to November, then I get on snow,” Carter said. “That’s where the fun begins.”
Every Sunday-Wednesday, he is in Winter Park or somewhere nearby. His team is on the slopes after breakfast – sometimes as early as 7 am to beat the crowds on busy days.
It’s always challenging qualifying for a team – especially a Paralympic team, he said.
“You train, you work at least four years – usually longer – for a goal,” he said. “There’s no guarantee it’s going to happen.”
Carter’s strongest event is the super giant slalom, or super-G. Super-G is considered a "speed" event – a sort of hybrid between the faster downhill and the more technical giant slalom. Racers must pass through a set of widely spaced gates similar to downhill, but the super-G course is designed so skiers turn more. Carter also races downhill, slalom and giant slalom.
How It All Started
Carter was born in 1994 without his right fibula and had his leg amputated below the knee when he was one year old. He has played numerous sports and danced over the years. When Carter was eight years old, his parents sent him to a weeklong ski camp in his home state of Pennsylvania and he fell in love.
“It was great to be out there and go as fast as you can,” he said. “There’s something about hurling yourself down the mountain with the wind coming at you. … I still love it.”
When he attended the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, he decided to get serious about attending the next Paralympics as a participant rather than a spectator. That dream came true in 2014. And again in 2018.
“It’s the most amazing experience. It’s incredible,” he said. “You’re not just representing yourself. You’re not just representing your country. You’re representing the entire world.”
He eventually moved to Colorado Springs to be closer to his team and coach at the Colorado-based National Sports Center for the Disabled.
His Other Job
When he’s not on the slopes, you can find Carter at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs. During the winter, he’s usually there Thursday-Saturdays, serving as a guest experience supervisor.
He considers it “a real honor and a privilege” to help provide guests a glimpse into athlete life.
“I’ve been lucky to be part of the museum team,” he said. “Having the US Olympic and Paralympic Museum here in the Springs is amazing.”
Tyler Carter: http://www.tcskiusa.com/
Team USA: https://www.teamusa.org/athletes/ca/tyler-carter#profile
United States Olympic and Paralympic Museum: https://usopm.org/
National Sports Center for the Disabled: https://nscd.org/
Bejing 2022 Olympics: https://olympics.com/en/beijing-2022/