Para-snowboarder Tyler Turner, once again a world champion, is (arguably) Canada’s most interesting athlete
Speaking via Zoom from an Airbnb in La Molina, Spain, Tyler Turner shows off a snowboard prosthetic foot and describes what it’s like to defy the odds and claim another straight world title in para-snowboard cross despite having the most Race has missed adapting to new prosthetic legs season.
“With so much free time and not knowing how well my legs would work after receiving them just a few weeks ago… I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself,” Turner said.
“But when we started racing, I thought, I want to win. I want that first place and I want to defend the world championship. So I’m really proud to have done that.”
It’s been quite a winning streak for the Campbell River, BC native, who also won gold and bronze at the Paralympics in Beijing a year ago.
Turner credits his success on snow to a wild alter ego who takes over the moment he slides to the starting line.
“When the goal falls I have tunnel vision,” he said. “I just flip a switch and see red when I start competing.”
This go-for-it attitude explains a lot about the 34-year-old, who lost both his legs in a skydive six years ago.
In addition to para-snowboarding, Turner also participates in para-surfing, enjoys skateboarding, and continues to teach skydiving when he’s not flying around in his wingsuit.
And the spirit of adventure doesn’t stop there: Last year, he and his girlfriend Kayleen sailed the boat they live on 4,000 nautical miles from Campbell River — along the northeast coast of Vancouver Island, about 265 kilometers northwest of Victoria — to Mexico.
“Nothing in moderation”
Oh, and he also plays the bagpipes – guaranteeing his position as front runner if there is ever a competition to choose Canada’s most interesting athletes.
“That would be a great title,” he laughed. “Nothing in moderation, I like to say.”
Not surprisingly, Turner’s story has sparked interest and he is now increasingly in demand as a public speaker. And while overcoming obstacles is an obvious message, he tries to stay away from the “simple clichés.”
“The biggest thing I like to put out is that [what I do] looks so great on Instagram or on the web, but that’s not the real story. I would say the real story isn’t sexy, it’s actually just guts, determination and laying your head down,” he said.
“Everyone always asks how did you do it? And it’s like, well, I woke up. I didn’t want to get out of bed, but then I got out of bed. I didn’t want to buy groceries. I got groceries… you shower, go to the bathroom, do that thing and just move on.
When it comes to snowboarding, Turner isn’t done yet. His long-term goal is to continue competing for medals at the 2026 Paralympic Games in Italy while mentoring the next generation of Canadian para-snowboarders.
“I’m not getting any younger and our team as a whole is a bit older,” he said. “I know they’re out there, so I tried to get the word out as widely as possible.”