Ryan McClintock and Grant Erickson Compete to be the “Last Skiers Standing.”
Adaptive skier Ryan McClintock and his longtime friend and ski coach Grant Erickson are
competing at the fourth annual Last Skier Standing event on February 10, 2023 at Black
Mountain of Maine in Rumford. This challenging event showcases 150 skiers who ascend 1,000
vertical feet to the summit, and ski down- not one time, but once an hour, every hour, until there
is one skier left.
The extreme nature of this test of mettle attracts hardcore adventurers. Yet, organizers stress that this event is for everyone. Participants are encouraged to set their own PR (personal record), and to strive to get the most out of their own personal performance. It is, above all else, an opportunity to be part of a like-minded community of ski enthusiasts with diverse experiences and backgrounds. Organizer Andrew Drummond from Ski the Whites is clear that this event is an experience, not a race, and attitude is everything: “The person who takes you out of this event is yourself. It’s a battle of will to keep yourself going.” The community of spectators and fellow skiers creates a supportive environment. Every skier, from those who can do two laps to those who can do 60, are grouped together at the start of each run. The goal is camaraderie and good fun. Andrew says, “I want everyone to feel like they got the most they could out of it.”
Skiers like Ryan know first-hand the importance of inclusion at all levels of sport. Ryan and
Grant are both fit young men and capable skiers- Ryan just needs a little support to participate in events where he can mingle with like-minded ski enthusiasts. This event seems like the next
logical step in their years of adventure together. Grant notes, “Ryan and I have a long history of
skiing and learning together.” Ryan and Grant met in childhood through their mutual passion
for skiing. In 2008 Ryan, who has autism, began skiing at age seven through Mt. Washington
Valley Adaptive Sports (MWVAS), an adaptive skiing program at Attitash Mountain Resort.
Grant’s sister Karly began skiing in the same program in 2004. Both participants’ families
became actively involved in supporting MWVAS and each other, and they continue to do so
Grant attended Carrabassett Valley Academy in their backcountry skiing program. The program
focuses on developing outdoor leadership, technical backcountry skiing skills, and engaging with the outdoors. The confluence of these skills led Grant to embark on winter backcountry
adventures with a group of family and friends which included Ryan and his family. Just before
Grant’s 15th birthday, when Ryan was only 11, the boys and their families celebrated a New
Year’s Day snowfall by hiking part of Cog Railway and skiing down through the backcountry.
This was to be the first of many adventures together; they have since participated in the
Tuckerman Inferno, Wildcat Wildfire (adventure races which both have backcountry skiing legs),
Friday Night Lights Ski Touring events at Black Mtn in Jackson, NH, and every one of
Backcountry Alliance’s Wild Corn Skimo (ski mountaineering) events. Ryan and Grant
continue to enjoy the support of their families as they embark on this latest adventure.
Ryan says, “I’m excited to ski with Grant. My mom helped me with my training workouts.” Ryan also noted, “We will need a lot of snacks!”
Ryan and Grant are fundraising for Mt. Washington Valley Adaptive Sports during Last Skier
Standing. You can sponsor them here, or cheer them on in person!
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