Sit-Skier Chris Devlin-Young Skis Corbet’s Couloir

Earlier this week, US Paralympic member Chris Devlin-Young became the first sit-skier to ski JHMR’s legendary Corbet’s Couloir, unaided. Corbet’s was dubbed “America’s Scariest Ski Slope” by USA Today (there is even a play-by-play on how to ski it, at least for people that have function of both of their legs) , and I’m assuming the “unaided” part or Chris’s accomplishment means that no-one helped him up to the rim of the couloir or pushed him over the edge. It looked like conditions were pretty good for Chris, so be sure to read his account of the run below. Impressive and motivational stuff Chris. Congrats!


Chris Devlin-Young drops into Corbet’s Couloir at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

March 6, 2011, JHMR- I arrived at the top of the world at 8:36am. There was fourteen inches of new snow and I was on a mission. The doors of the one hundred person tram at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort opened and the twenty of us walked out into a world of deep snow and the smell of coffee at Corbet’s cabin. I road out of the tram strapped into my Mono-ski and sitting on my wheelchair. When I got to the snow I went through my normal routine of clicking into my ski and blocking my heal-piece. Except there was nothing routine about today, I road up on the early tram to jump into Corbet’s Couloir.

The sound of avalanche bombs in the distance greeted us as me and a couple of friends, with ski patrol’s permission, skied down to the top of Corbit’s early. The snow was so deep I was having difficulty maintaining speed even though I was going straight downhill. The wind was blowing pretty hard, until we reached the lip. It seemed to slow down and the sun started to peak out and no one spoke for the first few minutes.

Chris Devlin scores face-shots in the entrance.

I have been trying to screw up my courage to make the thirty foot drop in since I first saw Corbet’s five years ago. Strangely today my heart was not racing and my mind was quite calm. Unlike the last five day of crazy vivid dreams of making that drop into the couloir and skiing away. I lost a lot of sleep in those days.

I was in Jackson as one of the instructors of the Steep and Deep camp. Doug Coombs began the camps in 1993 and I was going to teach ten adaptive skiers how to ski terrain that most skiers would never consider. Black diamond and steeper. Just another day of skiing for those who venture to Jackson’s legendary terrain. A mountain that has just a couple of beginner runs and the rest is mostly expert and above. The camp was over now and it was a tremendous success. These guys will forever sit at the bottom of a ski area and look up with the thought, I can ski anywhere up there!

My good friends Selko, Nate, Jason and a new friend Jamie waited while ski patrol finished there safety checks before allowing the mountain to open. A patroller arrived bringing with him his radio so we would know when the mountain opened. Time seemed to creep by like it does while waiting at the start for a downhill race. Without any warning the patroller’s radio came to life with the, all clear. Can ya believe it I actually got stuck in the snow just tying to get to the edge. Once I did I saw the thirty foot drop and it looked a hundred. I was there to ski and that’s just what I did.

As I scraped over the edge I went from a standstill to holy crap I’m going fast in less time than it takes to blink. The first turn to the right came at me at light speed. To my surprise there was a ton of room past that first turn so I linked a bunch more together until I got stuck again in the snow at the bottom. Holy crap.

Today was a first descent into Corbet’s Couloir by a sit-skier (unaided), and yes I would do it again. (if the stars, planets, moon and Jackson ever aligned again!)

-Chris

20 Comments

20 Responses to “Sit-Skier Chris Devlin-Young Skis Corbet’s Couloir”


  1. 1 Codester Mar 12th, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    That is just freaking awesome!! Props!

  2. 2 justin Mar 12th, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    FKNA! awesome. holy schnikeys.

  3. 3 mtnrunner2 Mar 12th, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Totally awesome.

    Even if it’s not Corbett’s, I see some great skiers on sleds at Winter Park/Mary Jane and other CO resorts. I’m certainly no pro, but some of them ski better than me on two legs. I love seeing that.

    And I give credit to the maker of the equipment, too. Glad they do.

  4. 4 Tom Scilacci Mar 13th, 2011 at 9:04 am

    2 thumbs up!

  5. 5 Chuck Mar 13th, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Bad AZZZZZZZZZz.

  6. 6 Scott Mar 13th, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Major props on a terrific achievement!

  7. 7 Brendan Hughes Mar 14th, 2011 at 10:26 am

    The spirit of DC in Chris Devlin-Young! This makes the year for me here at Jackson Hole. Hey Chris, we skied together at Copper and had a beverage. I knew that you or Tyler would be the person to do this! Congrats and thank you very much.

  8. 8 Tim Martin Mar 14th, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Chris,
    You are an inspiration to all skiers adaptive or not. Way to rock the mountain.

  9. 9 Christopher Cook Mar 14th, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Passion is what skiing is all about. This guy is truly a bad ass. Get some!

  10. 10 Mark DesRochers Mar 14th, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Chris,
    Thanks for speaking to my daughter and the other Junior Olympians last Saturday. I watched her face while you were talking and she had a look on her that I rarely see. Then, thanks for talking to me at the end of your evening about your drop into Corbets. Whenever I think I’m doing something ballsy, I know it pales in comparison to that. You are truly an inspiration to all.
    Mark DesRochers

  11. 11 boardingunlimited Mar 15th, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    CONGRADULATIONS AND GREAT JOB, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK! LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING MORE FOOTAGE OF YOU AND YOUR ADVENTURES.

  12. 12 Steve Raymond Mar 15th, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Never surprised at the guts CDY has. He just keeps pushing. Proud to call you my pal

    Steve

  13. 13 Jamie McCulloch Mar 16th, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Inspirational Chris, a phenomenal achievement, and congrats on the realization and accomplishment of a five year dream. It is due to people like yourself, that keep pushing the envelope that show people first hand that anything, regardless of perceived abilities can be achieved with perseverance, determination, courage and a belief that anything is possible.

    Thankyou, and if your ever in Canada i have a group of adaptive skiers that would love to make some turns with you…

  14. 14 Green Mtn boy Mar 17th, 2011 at 4:29 am

    Atta boy, Slainte!

  15. 15 Jerome Levine Mar 19th, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    All I can say is WOW. I am 82 years old & tried Adaptive Skiing last Dec. at Sun Valley.Iloved being out there, because I thought I would never be on the snow again.I will be out there again this year with Tat’s Dad.Keep up the good work & have fun.

  16. 16 April Mar 23rd, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Hi Chris,
    I saw the video of you dropping Corbets on the JHMR and I was so moved by your courage and the desire to push the limits. Congrats on conquering what scares mere mortals. I have been in the Teton Adaptive snowboard program for two years now. I saw Corbet’s from the bottom and thought I am going to that someday. We are expecting 100% snow on Friday and I have picked that day to make my first drop into the couloir.

    I am so inspired that you did it and I will take part of your courage with me. I will be snowboarding in and have my husband to coach me.

    Thank you for inspiring me to push my limits and try it.

  1. 1 Sit-Skier Chris Devlin-Young Skis Corbet's Couloir | TetonAT.com Pingback on Mar 12th, 2011 at 6:18 pm
  2. 2 Backcountry.com: The Goat » Blog Archive » First Sit-Skier to Hit Corbet’s Couloir Pingback on Mar 14th, 2011 at 8:22 am
  3. 3 Shared items on March 18, 2011 Pingback on Mar 18th, 2011 at 12:16 am
  4. 4 andrewJESAITIS » What I’m Reading Pingback on Mar 19th, 2011 at 2:18 pm
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