Logan Knowles, a 19-year-old from Horsehead, NY, has goals to one day be a part of the U.S. Paralympian Alpine Skiing Team. Knowles has been out on the slopes since he was seven years old, though it wasn’t an easy journey to get there. Knowles was born with cerebral palsy. “The doctor told my parents that at 18 months I would be put in a wheelchair and never be able to walk or talk again in my life.” He said his parents refused to believe this and started to help him train; building his core muscles with a goal of eventually walking.
Flash forward to age four and Knowles was playing baseball with the assistance of his walker. Unfortunately, his left arm control affected his ability to catch and throw and he had to put that sport on the shelf. Shortly after, Logan started gaining an interest in snowboarding/skiing, because of US Olympian Shaun White. At the time, Knowles couldn’t fully walk without the assistance of a walker, but he really wanted to learn how to ski. He put his mind to it and set the goal to learn how to walk, and within a month he knew how. By age 7, he was able to start skiing.
Since Knowles started skiing, he has been training with the National Ability Center in Park City, a chapter of Disabled Sports USA. He has been able to go on to win the 2015 NASTAR Nationals for his disability group, and ski in the World Paralympics Open Alpine Skiing Event. Knowles has also won the National Adaptive National Championships. Knowles was named to Disabled Sports USA’s E-Team in 2017.
In 2018, Knowles was invited to attend the Winter Paralympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, to learn more about adaptive skiing. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to attend due to a skiing accident that caused him to break his leg. “Even though I couldn’t go, being invited at all was pretty awesome. During that time it taught me a lot about life that wouldn’t have ever happened.”
Through his skiing accomplishments he has been able to meet people from all over, many that have affected his life. One place that he has made many friends is at Ski Spec, an annual event in Breckenridge, Colorado. Knowles has been attending it for the past four years. When he first heard about Ski Spec, Knowles came with the interest of learning more about the racing side of skiing. He was able to talk to coaches and receive a scholarship to attend his first year. “I was afraid my first time at Ski Spec, but the coaches understand what level you are at, and they make you feel comfortable and help you advance your skills to become a better athlete.”
Since attending Ski Spec and being a part of the Race Camp program, Knowles not only has the goal to pursue the journey of becoming a Paralympian, but also has the goal to create his own Race Camp back in his hometown. He explained that he would like to make it an all-inclusive Race Camp. Involving Special Olympics, Paralympics, high school and collegiate level athletes. Knowles has also just started giving talks at high schools all over New York. He wants to share with people that “doctors tend to see the worse in situations and one of my goals is to make more people aware.”
NOTE: You can also check out a Q&A between Knowles and Two-Time Paralympic Gold Medalist Mary Riddell, who was inducted into the U.S. Disabled Snow Sports Hall of Fame in 2017. Knowles interviewed Riddell prior to her induction ceremony.