Becoming High Fives Athlete #110: Q&A with Trevor Kennison

Trevor Kennison smiling at the Darn Tough mill

In 2014, Trevor Kennison broke his back in a snowboarding accident, suffering a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down. For the past 9 years, he has adapted his life to being in a wheelchair. Now he's a professional skier aka the Sit Ski Boss who is breaking records and blowing past expectations. Think double back flip. He’s also a Darn Tough athlete.

We sat down with Trevor to learn more about how his relationship with the High Fives Foundation, one of our long-time partners. He’s High Fives athlete 110, and we wanted to hear how that has impacted his life.

How did you hear about the High Fives Foundation?

I was skiing in Crested Butte Colorado with the Adaptive Sport Center for a week-long trip and honestly didn’t expect that trip to change my life even more than it already had.

Trevor in his sit ski at the top of a dramatic mountain

While I was there, some folks on the trip from Craig Hospital told me about High Fives and said I should give them a call to ask about the camps they offer for adaptive athletes. I was super nervous to pick up the phone and cold call them, but I eventually did.

It was wild. As I introduced myself and told them a bit about my story, they told me that they had heard about me; I was on their radar. They invited me to their camp in Tahoe, and since that moment I’ve been a part of their ‘Ohana.

What is your memory of that first camp with High Fives?

The first thing I remember was seeing Alana Nichols, who I had already known. Then I met Trey Humphries, and he was such a badass instructor.

I totally lost myself in how cool the camp and the whole foundation were. I met the guy that picked up my cold call to the foundation, which made me realize that the team was legit. Then, I met Roy.

You’re referring to Roy Tuscany, founder and CEO of High Fives. Tell us more.

Trevor and Roy together at the Darn Tough mill

Meeting Roy at my very first High Fives camp was incredible. We didn’t get much time together, but the time we did have was impactful.

We then spent a lot of time together at my first Ski-a-Thon in Colorado, four months after my first camp. We hung out a lot on that trip, and I was able to really open up to him about things I was nervous about (like, what do I do in summers?), things I wanted to do with my life, and just chill stuff – he was so easy to talk to.

Roy knew I wanted to get into ski racing, but knew I had hesitations because of the training fees, gear, and everything that goes with the sport. He told me to apply for a grant with the Foundation and said ‘we’ll take care of you’ – and they did.

Trevor taking a jump on his sit ski

Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of numerous High Five events across the country. I can’t even tell you how much Roy means to me. I would love to hear what he has to say!

How has the High Fives Foundation impacted your life?

High Fives has affected my life in SO many ways. I can’t even begin to describe it. From starting on snow to helping me and encouraging me to get into biking – they have helped me feel whole.

Trevor getting some epic powder on his sit ski

Winter was always my focus, but they helped me find my other side in summer. They have helped me both mentally and physically. I have been able to achieve my dreams because of them. I am so grateful for them.

Why are you a High Fives Athlete?

I am proudly High Fives Athlete number 110. I am an athlete because their mission statement IS my life - I suffered a life altering injury doing what I love outdoors. I am proud to be an ambassador for them because it’s a way I can educate and support people that may or may not be going through something similar to what I experienced.

What’s coming up that you and High Fives are excited about?

Three High Five skiers coming down the slope

It’s just so amazing to see how much the Foundation has grown and the amount of people they are helping. I’m excited for the Green Mountain Shred-A-Thon (Go Team Darn Tough!) in March, the Retro Shred at my home mountain Winter Park, and to surf again in Hawaii – in warm weather!

I’m excited to keep growing and to see where High Fives goes. They have affected my life and so many others lives; it’s just too incredible to see.

Any parting words?

Go high five somebody!

Trevor out on the mountain giving a fellow skier a high five

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