The internationally acclaimed speaker delivers the keynote address at the 2015 Pathways to Success conference.
In conjunction with this year’s Pathways to Success program, Muffy Davis will address business leaders and the general public on the tales of her success. This year’s theme is “Navigating the Peak”—and Muffy has done just that.
Born on Skis
Muffy Davis was practically born on skis. She began skiing when she was three and began ski racing when she was seven. Always a goal-setter, she told her mother when she was eight, “God made me to be a ski racer!” and declared that she would ski in the Olympics. As one of the top junior racers in the country, she was well on her way to accomplishing that goal. Having grown up and competed closely with downhill champion Picabo Street, it was likely that Muffy, too, would make it to the top. Unfortunately, tragedy struck in February of 1989. While training in her hometown of Sun Valley, Idaho, she went off course and slammed into a tree, crushing her back and resulting in complete paraplegia.
Needless to say, Muffy was devastated at the loss of her chances to become a skiing champion, but she was not one to stay down for long. When one door appeared to close, she saw others open. She chose to refocus the time and energy she had spent on racing toward academics and community service. After graduating as the valedictorian of her high school class, she went on to graduate from Stanford University, where she was awarded the Alumni Association’s only award for service to the community.
Though Muffy thoroughly enjoyed her time at Stanford, there was still a voice inside calling her back to the mountain, back to her old dreams. While in college, she spent time learning how to mono-ski, which is adaptive skiing for paraplegics. Feeling as if she had unfinished business on the race course, Muffy decided to give ski racing another shot after her college graduation in 1995!
Since then, Muffy has consistently improved and excelled in disabled ski racing. As a member of the United States Disabled Ski Team, her accomplishments include: winning silver medals in the 2002 Paralympics in Salt Lake City, Utah; two World Cup overall titles in 2001 and 2002; a bronze medal in the Paralympics in Nagano, Japan in 1998; a World Championship in Anzere, Switzerland in 2000; five World Cup titles; and more than 25 World Cup medals. In addition, she was honored by the Paralyzed Veterans of America with its Outstanding Skier Award for her skiing accomplishments and community service. She was named the Most Inspirational Athlete of 2002 by the Challenged Athletes Foundation and was awarded the Endurance Sports Awards’ Disabled Athlete of 2002 award. This year, she was honored with the IOC President’s Disabled Athlete award.
In May of 2002, Muffy and three other paraplegics made history when they successfully ascended California’s Mount Shasta, using hand-cranked machines called SnowPods. It took the climbers 5.5 days to summit the 14,162-foot mountain—the largest group of paraplegic mountaineers in history. And just last September, Muffy and a fellow adventurer made the first-ever wheelchair ascent of Colorado’s 14,110-foot Pike’s Peak. That makes two successful summits of more than 14,000 feet for Muffy.
While skiing has always been her first love, she is also actively involved in disabled waterskiing, scuba diving, swimming, weight training, horseback riding, handcycling, mountain climbing and various community service projects. iBi