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Anna Soens Claims First Heli-Ski Descent by Adaptive Female Athlete

Adaptive athlete Anna Soens ventured up to the Last Frontier to prove (yet again) that injuries don’t have to hold you back.

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Heli-skiing in Alaska is every serious skier or snowboarder’s dream. That’s no different for adaptive skiers like Anna Soens. The athlete had her eyes set on shredding gnar from a chopper in the last frontier — specifically in Girdwood, Alaska.

So, in 2021, she ventured out from her home in Boise, Idaho: traveling north, chartering a helicopter, flying out to the top of the Chugach Mountains, and dropping into an untouched backcountry bowl.

It was the first heli-ski descent by an adaptive female skier in history.

But Soens isn’t new to the “first descent by an adaptive athlete” title. In December 2015, she fell 35 feet in a climbing accident and injured her spine. But that didn’t stop her from becoming the first woman with paraplegia to summit Mt. Hood in Oregon not long afterward. And just a year after that achievement, she summited Mt. Baker and completed an 8,000-foot continuous ski descent from the top.

This Alaska heli-ski descent project is just another perceived barrier for adaptive athletes that Soens has struck down. The project was supported by the Kelly Brush Foundation, which encourages people with spinal injuries like Soens to get out and live active lives. This descent is a perfect example of everything it stands for.

Check out the video of Soens’ 2021 adaptive heli-ski achievement.

Runtime: 4 minutes

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