Keith Gabel – The ESPN Story
Watch the ESPN story that only Keith Gabel can tell.
When we were first contacted by ESPN to do a piece on Keith Gabel, we honestly knew nothing about him. But after doing a little research we found out that this was going to be a interesting story. Its something one couldn’t write and if you could write it, it wouldn’t turn out the way it actual happened in real life.
First stop Ogden, Utah to see Keith’s dad J. Keith. We meet him at his house at the mouth of Weber Canyon. Snow covered Wasatch Mountains are literally in his back yard. Brian Arnold from ESPN conducts the interviews and as it unfolds its a little unbelievable…….one keeps thinking……”and i thought i had it bad”………trust us, its never as bad as what Keith went through. His dad reminds us of everyones dad, big cool, smokes cigarettes has a two birds and two dogs and a cat, coached football, takes the kids skiing. Cries when thinking about his sons problems and knows how to move on with life. amen.
Next up is a short drive to Aspen, CO to meet the Mr. Keith Gabel in person! The trusty Dodge gets us there in record time, 100 mph and 19 miles to the gallon- very respectable. Our schedule is to interview Keith the first day and ride the day after, but the weather is changing and the decision is made to swap out shooting days….this is typically not a good idea, but it turns out to be the best decision ever, as the morning is as blue bird baby jesus as you could ask for! Keith shows up ready to ride at 8 am. Strange,but he sure doesn’t walk like he has a fake foot……strange he doesn’t ride like he has a fake foot……maybe he is full of it……and has a real foot! We get off the lift and decided to shoot the classsic “top of the mountain i am hero” shots. Done and complete. His coach “Cookie” suggests we hike up a bit to another ridgeline and drop a line for some powder shots. Hiking up behind Keith…..still thinking, “he doesnt hike like he has a fake foot”……We set up a nice long shot, turn through the powder, head through the trees and head over the side ridge just past the rock line.
Keith swoops with smooth powder style.
Through the trees, over the ridge and………CLIFF!
Keith sent it over a mine shaft clift, yes, a 25 foot drop into a hole.
Broke his board, bit his tongue and still rides the thing out of the trees!
We hobble out to the groomer and we swap bindings out so his trainer (Cookie) can ride the broke board down. This is the first time we actually see Keith Gabel’s fake leg! It really is FAKE!
We wrap a fulfilling yet exhausting day with Keith and head back for some rest.
Next day- we shoot the interview and wrap as a massive storm is heading our way and we need to make it over Soldiers Summit by midnight. Good thing we get 19 per gallon going 100 mph!
We were able to catch up with Keith after his most recent X-games performance for another interview.
How old are you?
Keith Gabel: I am 31 years old.
How long do you think you will continue to ride professionally for?
Keith Gabel: That’s the age old question. I really don’t know, I am definitely planning on making a run at the 2018 games in South Korea. I will assess everything after that.
what will you do after your pro snowboard career?
Keith Gabel: I’m not entirely sure. I would love to continue my motivational speaking career and also continue working with the USOC and my sport. At some point I would like to start a nonprofit organization.
Are you going to try and go to the winter 2018 games?
Keith Gabel:Yes absolutely.
What would be better than a prosthetic foot? i.e- a wheel, a gun, a ski, etc
Keith Gabel: HAHAHA! Two prosthetic feet?
On a scale from 1-10 rate our filming snowboard crews ability on the slope.
Keith Gabel: Absolutely a 10. Not only were you guys super efficient, you kept the spirit light hearted I had a great time filming with you guys. You were open minded about getting the shot and super creative. I’ve worked with a few different crews now and you are my favorite by far
What do you prepare for when you are going off a cliff and don’t expect it?
Keith Gabel: That just depends on whats below. Usually I look before I leap. However, if I don’t have the luxury of scoping something first and I’ve made the mistake of flying off a cliff unexpectedly, I just try to stay stacked and stomp it out. usually as I’m going off I try to find a good landing spot and prepare for the impact.
You didn’t do so well in the last x-games, what’s your game plan moving ahead?
Keith Gabel: X-Games is just one comp of the season, regardless of how I do at a comp I keep my eyes forward and reset immediately prepping for the next comp on the schedule. You can’t move forward if you’re always looking in the rearview mirror.
Colorado ski resorts vs. Utah ski resorts?
Keith Gabel: Depends on the resort. Utah will always be home but they both have their benefits. I love the rocky mountains and I am very spoiled regardless of if I am in Colorado or Utah.
Adaptive sports have come along ways since you lost your leg, where do you think it will be in another 10 years?
Keith Gabel: I think it’s going to continue to grow. The athletes are constantly getting better. Technology and awareness is also growing. Not to mention companies are seeing the marketability in it and have been jumping on board wanting to actually help athletes and sports with sponsorships. I think that’s the recipe for success, and growth is immanent.
- Director Skylar Nielsen
- Producer Brian Arnold
- Cinematographer Skylar Nielsen
- Cinematographer Lance Clayton
- Editor Catura Jensen
- Colorist Jake Penrose
- Production Company Vita Brevis Films
- Client ESPN