Ski Racer Sam DuPratt Uses Recovery to Mentor Students and Finish His Own Schooling
U.S. Alpine ski racer Sam DuPratt is taking on the role of ambassador of the Picabo Street Academy ski school in Park City.
He’s accepting the position while recovering from a severe accident in December, where he broke both of his legs while training for a World Cup downhill race in Val Gardena, Italy.
DuPratt grew up in Park City, alpine racing with the Park City Ski Team before becoming a NorAm Super G champion. He had a stint on the U.S. Ski and Snowboard team, was dropped, then skied with the University of Utah starting in 2017.
After helping Utah to an NCAA championship, he made it back on the national team roster before crashing late last year. DuPratt said he broke both legs in multiple places and had to put racing on the back burner.
He said he still hasn’t seen footage of his crash.
“I remember it well enough, and I don't feel the need to watch it quite yet,” DuPratt said. “But I'll watch it before I race again, that's for sure. Yeah, I broke both tibia and fibula's on both legs in multiple places. The left one was broken, each bone was broken three places. The right one was more of a spiral kind of just spiraled inside the boot. My left leg had a break just under the knee, just above the boot, and then one in the boot. So, it was a little bit of a mess in there."
DuPratt said he has another surgery set for Aug. 1 to take all four of the plates and screws out and implant another tibia rod in his right leg. He plans to be on snow by November, which he said is four months ahead of schedule. If he competes in 2022, it won't be until March.
"I wasn't sure if I was going to race again, especially lying there in the snow with your legs going in different directions,” he said. “I still have a long ways to go, that's for sure. I'll end with two tibia rods on each leg, and I'll try and ski with that, and if it hurts, I'll be done. But if I'm pain-free, then I might as well give it another go."
DuPratt is planning to earn a degree in accounting this summer from the University of Utah. He said he has been chipping away at it during his ski racing career and attending classes mostly in the summers.
The Picabo Street Academy is a private school based in Park City, which provides high school students an alternative to pursue extracurricular activities year-round. The school offers individualized academic support regardless of the time of year or the location of the student.
DuPratt hopes to be involved in the academy's athletics. He said it has primarily non-alpine ski racers attending. He has mentored a couple of students even during his recovery.
“I just want to kind of be like a role model,” he said. “And students and athletes should continue to pursue both. And Picabo Street Academy is a great way to do that, and one of the best in the world at that."
DuPratt said his competitive ski racing career will come to an end at some point. He wants to pursue a business career and believes an accounting major will be a good foundation. In the meantime, he is out of a wheelchair and recovering well ahead of schedule.