Trevor Kennison might have already hit your radar. Maybe when he dropped Corbet’s Couloir, hit the Big Air jump at X Games, or landed a double backflip for his upcoming documentary, Full Circle, with Level 1 Productions. Even if you haven’t heard of Trevor yet, it won’t be long before you see Trevor defying what’s possible as the Sit Ski Boss.
Home town: Keene, New Hampshire, USA
Resort: Winter Park, Colorado, USA
Sponsors: High Fives Foundation, Eddie Bauer, GoPro, Spy Optics, Völkl, Fat Tire, Darn Tough, Extra Tough, Wells Lamont, Winter Park Resort
Hi Trevor. Back in 2014 You were a plumber. How much did you snowboard back then?
I grew up snowboarding, my dad had a snowboard shop. I could ride the mountain, but then I didn’t do it for like ten years, because we moved around all the time and didn’t have money to do it. Then I moved to Colorado and fell back in love with it. I wasn’t that good, but I could definitely ride.
What happened on the day that changed your life?
I was riding with a couple of buddies. They dropped in to hit a jump first. I went last and caught an edge off the jump. I flew through the air like Superman. I tucked my head because I didn’t want to land on on it, and I landed like a taco. I heard a loud pop—that was my T11 and T12 vertebrae shattering. I also punctured my spinal cord and dislocated my back. I laid in the snow from 4:00pm until 7:30pm.
What did you think about when you were laying in the snow?
That I’d have to get back on pain pills, I was going to lose my job, and just so many things would change with my girlfriend. I didn’t think about being in a wheelchair.
I guess you wouldn’t have predicted becoming an international sitski rock star.
Yeah, I never thought that breaking my back and having a spinal cord injury would bring me to where I am today, in the ski industry and doing what I’m doing.
Fast forward six years. Thousands of people have now seen the teaser for Full Circle. What was going through your head as you were sitting at the top of the inrun to attempt the first-ever double backflip in a sit ski?
I just wanted to execute it. Obviously, for me, it’s something really special, not just because it’s where I broke my back, but also because it was a world’s first. Put those two together and it’s such a special moment. You can see it in the movie, there’s a scene when I wake up that morning and you can just see how focused, driven and ready I am. I wasn’t going to conquer the mountain, because the mountain’s always going to win, but it was a bit of redemption and making myself whole again.
When does Full Circle drop?
We just had the first screening at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, we have the Sonoma Film Festival at the end of March, and the first legit public viewing is in Denver at the end of May. It’s not a ski movie, it’s a documentary. It won’t be on YouTube, the goal is that it’ll live on Netflix or a streaming platform like that so that people can see it all over the world.
You’ve done the first double backie on a sit ski, you hit the X Games Big Air jump and you sent Corbet’s Couloir. Which one of those is your favorite?
Just wait until you see the movie. There’s so much more I’ve done. I’m just really excited to keep showing and growing. Corbet’s definitely put me on the map—everybody was like “Corbet’s, Corbet’s, Corbet’s,” and I’ve done so much since then. [Off the record, Trevor told me a couple of things he’s done that are even more mind-blowing. You’ll need to watch Full Circle to find out what!] Stuff keeps rolling out and people don’t even mention it. Sometimes I meet someone and they say, “Some sit skier hit Corbet’s.” I tell them it was me, and they’re like, “No f*cking way!”
The double backie was super special to me. The X Games was also sick, I just wish we had the snow last year that we have this year. I didn’t really have training. I wanted to trick on it and do way more than just hit it. It was still super awesome to get the opportunity, but I think I could have done so much more.
Trevor sends the X Games Big Air jump in 2022. Photo: Dave Camara / ESPN Images
Didn’t Woodsy give you an X Games medal?
Yeah. He came up and gave me a medal, and I said that I didn’t deserve it. I went up and hit it again and was like, “OK, just give it to me!” even though I didn’t land it!
Will you go and hit it again?
I don’t know, maybe. Or maybe there are other jumps I could go hit and do other things for myself, rather than publicity and stuff. It’s great, but I want to make sure that I keep doing stuff for myself.
Earlier this winter I was watching Strictly’s movie Delete and you popped up there! How did that happen?
Well, I’ve been doing a decent amount of urban, but I hooked up with those guys to film. I love urban.
And then I saw you hitting pillows the other day on Instagram…
Haha yeah, I was skiing deep pow and hitting pillows with the GoPro team.
Shredding the park at Woodward Copper.
There’s no point in always putting pressure on yourself with “what’s next” rather than taking what’s in front of you and enjoying it.
You must be one of the most well-rounded skiers out there in terms of terrain. What is there left for you to do?
There’s so much left to do. It’s the same for any skier or snowboarder: You can always progress in everything. Whether it’s mentally, physically, skiing different lines or whatever. For me, one thing my dad always taught me was to be well-rounded. Take swimming for example. I was really good at butterfly, but I became good at every single stroke because I took the time and put the effort in. It’s the same with the mountain. I want to be good at everything and not specialize in one thing. That’s actually why I got back to sit skiing, because I wanted to ski the trees. That’s the only reason. To ski the trees was amazing, but there are so many more disciplines. I also raced. Now I’m thankful that I’ve done it, so that now I can just choose what I want to ski. Rather than only skiing park or only powder or whatever. Be well-rounded and ski it all. Why be picky? Just enjoy being on the mountain.
I spoke to you a while ago and we talked about you maybe starting to spin. I guess with your injuries and core control, that must be hard. Is that still a possibility?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s definitely possible. I guess I broke my back spinning off that jump, so I’ve just been really hesitant to do that. Also, with shoulder injuries, it’s not like if I injure my shoulder I can just go and walk around, so it would affect my daily routine. I guess it’s just one thing at a time. There’s no point in always putting pressure on yourself with “what’s next” rather than taking what’s in front of you and enjoying it.
Park, street, powder—anywhere he rides, Trevor slays.
Most pro skiers have a pretty limited audience: people who like skiing. but I guess you have a much wider appeal because you’re all inspirational and stuff! WHEN I WAS AT PLAYSTREETS, you had just posted the double backflip, and so many of the riders were talking about it. You’ve got the ski fans, the inspired people, people with injuries and more. Do you get stopped in the street by strangers?
That’s very cool and I’m very flattered that those guys were talking about me. I was never really trying to inspire people, but I hope that what I do does change people’s perspectives. Yeah, I get stopped a handful of times, especially traveling to different mountains. It’s cool, but I stay pretty close to the people that I care about. If people come up and say, “Oh, that was sick,” or whatever, I always ask their name and try to have a conversation. It’s awesome and I’m very thankful. This movie will change so many lives in that way—people that ski, snowboard or neither, people that don’t do any sport, kids or adults. It’s going to help so many people and I’m very thankful to be able to leave my mark on the ski and snowboard industry, and just in general.
Before Trevor was the sit ski Boss: On a fly-fishing trip to Montana in 2017.
We first met on an adaptive fly fishing trip in Montana with the High Fives Foundation in the summer of 2017. You had about one winter on the sitski under your belt, but I remember you were adamant that you were “still a snowboarder.” Would you say that’s still true?
Haha, that’s so funny. I was at the Darn Tough factory and they asked me if I was a snowboarder or a skier. I said that technically I’m a skier: My shoulders are facing forward, and yes, I’m on two edges, but I’m on ski bindings with ski equipment. I say that I broke my back to become a skier, but I tell people that I ski like a snowboarder, which is true!
I’ve never worn a pair of ski boots a day in my whole life. I ride in comfort!
From that answer, I can tell that in your heart you’re still a snowboarder.
Well, I’ve never worn a pair of ski boots a day in my whole life. I ride in comfort! I guess my passion was snowboarding, but I’m just so thankful that I can connect and bridge the gap between snowboarding and skiing. It’s 2023 but there’s still a stigma between skiers and snowboarders, but who gives a f*ck? We’re all just sliding on snow. It’s cool because I’m friends with a lot of the snowboarders and obviously a lot of the skiers. Through my projects I’ve run into all these Monster, Red Bull or Rockstar athletes, and—I hate to use this word and I know you do too—but they’re inspired by what I do. Snowboarding or skiing, this could happen to any of us. I look up to people like Candide Thovex so much. It would be so sick to do a project with him. I think people would lose their minds if Candide and I did a little project together. Things I do on social media blow up, and he’s the f*cking GOAT, so let’s do something together!
Your move, Candide!