Alex Cairns; from the bunny hill to the steepest chutes

From the bunny hill to the steepest chutes on Whistler Blackcomb; Alex Cairns is the next generation of Canadian sit-skiers and he attributes his success to BC Adaptive Snowsport Programs.

BCPAST’s recent graduate to the Canadian Para-alpine Ski Team (CPAST) Alex Cairns, worked hard to earn his spot on the National Team. Cairns was born with Spina Bifida and is paralyzed below his thighs. The young Squamish native who was taught to bike by having his feet strapped to the pedals took his first adaptive ski lesson at fifteen. You would never know now that the fearless sit-skier who drops down some of the steepest chutes down Whistler Mountain once struggled to get down the bunny hill. “Skiing with BCAS has played a big part in my life. It’s not only given me the opportunity to be involved in a sport that suits my ability but the tools I need for a shot at competing for my country at the Paralympics. From those early days when I knew nothing about skiing, much less skiing with a disability, BCAS has been there and shown me what it takes to succeed.” says Cairns.

“We are proud to be part of Alex’s journey. Whether it’s someone’s  first tentative moments on snow or on a podium accepting a medal, we feel very fortunate to share in life changing stories like this”, says Wayne Leslie, BCAS Executive Director.

On Friday, September 25th, BC Adaptive Snowsports will host their Black Diamond Gala at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. The event, hosted by SHAW TV’s Fiona Forbes and long-time supporter Michael Eckford, aims to raise funds for the adaptive snowsport program that touch athletes like Alex.

The evening offers a chance for BC Adaptive Snowsports Executive Director, Wayne Leslie, and his team to transform views through sharing stories from the mountains, including portions of the documentary Lazy Boy, a short documentary featuring sit-skier Alex Cairns. Every day, throughout the winter season, a new BCAS participant  is introduced to the freedom of adaptive snowsports by a dedicated and passionate volunteer, lead to new and harder terrain by their instructor or trained to a podium finish by their coach. The barriers these people face include being able to afford equipment and lessons, awareness and accessibility. With community and public support, BC Adaptive Snowsports helps make the mountain accessible, aiming to give everyone an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of recreational or competitive skiing and snowboarding.

The Gala will feature a 3-course meal with wine, great silent and live auction items and entertainment. Tickets are available at