Dave Coen of Emmet County isn’t afraid of the cold. He can be found braving the frigid temps at Nub’s Nob all season long. “It’s my getaway and I just forget all my problems,” explains Dave.
He picked up the sport around the age of 50 and hasn’t looked back. He’s been at it for the last 22 seasons. However, four years ago the sport changed for him– he became a below the knee amputee. Dave says, “A lot of people are surprised, they don’t know it until you really see it.”
Hidden behind the snow pants and talent, you may never guess that this was Dave’s reality. “I was 15 years old and was in a bad accident. I cut my right leg behind the knee and almost off,” explains Dave. Decades later the pain became unbearable and he needed relief. They decided to go into surgery and remove the limb. He wasn’t going to let surgery stop him from getting back out on the slopes that season. “I didn’t want to miss a year. I didn’t want to miss the season.” So he didn’t. Always looking for the silver lining, Dave is convinced the loss of limb actually upped his game. “Before I could snowboard but now with my leg gone I can snowboard better.”
Now you can find Dave donating his time to helping others. He is involved with Challenge Mountain and recently started the Charlevoix-Boyne Amputee Support Group. Giving people a resource to connect and bounce ideas off one another.
If you want more information on the Support group, contact Dave Coen at (231) 675-0832 or Steve Czerkes at (231) 497-8825.