It's going viral on YouTube. It was the Play of the Week on ABC's Good Morning America. It was on the front page of ESPN.com.
What's causing all the fuss? A video of Kimberley's own Josh Dueck making history by being the first athlete to complete, and safely land, a back flip in a sit ski. Dueck performed the jump with the assistance of Powder Mountain Catskiing/Heliskiing near Whistler on February 3, 2012, with a contingent of Kimberley friends on hand for support and encouragement.
It's a momentous feat for many reasons. For one, it simply furthers Dueck's determination to live big from a wheelchair. And he has, winning world championships, Para-lympic medals and the X-Games as a sit ski racer.
But it is also momentous for the sheer courage it took to perform a similar maneuver to the one which left him paralyzed in 2004. It was a free-style jump gone wrong which left Dueck in a wheelchair. And now it is a free-style jump that has gone spectacularly right that is making the world sit up and take notice.
"No pun intended," said the affable Dueck, "But it's been something that has paralyzed me with fear for a long time."
But in the end, he says it felt like "redemption and freedom".
"It felt good to be back in that environment. The sensation of flying and flipping was exactly the way it felt before, which was pretty awesome."
He says the idea of attempting the back flip has been simmering for quite some time, and surrounded by people who inspire him, he began actually practicing for it.
Dueck got the boost of courage he needed from Nicholas Bass, a high-performance advisor for Own The Podium and a former coach with the Canadian aerial team.
"Nick installed the confidence in me saying, 'Dude not only do you have this, but it's going to be very straight forward for you to complete this trick,'" Dueck recalled. "I was like 'all right this is the top jump coach in the world telling me that it's not only possible, but it's actually quite easy.'"
Dueck started by jumping into foam pits at an indoor ski and training facility in Copper Mountain, USA.
"Sébastien (Michel) and Lasse (Ericsson) and some of the other coaches at Alpine Canada have been really gracious to give me the time but also muscle me up and down the ramps," said Dueck of the indoor training. "It's not easy work in a sit ski in that environment and getting me up and down and doing laps on the ramps."
After three years of training in the foam pits whenever he had spare time away for the para-alpine team, Dueck moved to snow, this time landing on an airbag.
Then on February 3, the attempt was made. Bass suggested the best possible jump shape and Powder Mountain Catskiing/Heliskiing built it. On hand were skier Miles Ricketts, whom Dueck said inspired him when he was growing up, Kimberley skier Trennon Paynter and other Kimberley friends. Mike Douglas, producer of the Salomon Freeski award winning film The Freedom Chair was on hand to film it.
And off he went. Up the ramp, one high backflip in the air, perfect landing on soft powder.
"The sense of air control and what I needed to do instinctively and what I needed to do to control rotations was eerily familiar," said Dueck. "It took me to the next level. I needed that, to do something that's never been done."
But a sense of accomplishment was really all Dueck was looking for. The buzz around the video took him by surprise, though he says it's very exciting.
"It has completely blown me away," he said. "This is certainly opening up a big door and new avenues for people to express themselves through skiing. I don't know if it will ever be a full-blown thing (freestyle sit skiing) like the way ski racing is - ski racing has so much potential in so many ways. But it's pretty cool at this point in time for people to look at the sport in just a little bit of a different way."
Dueck is still committed to the para-alpine racing season and will be competing in Nor-Am Cup races in Kimberley next week and at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Cup Finals in Panorama, B.C., from March 13-16.
He will also be speaking at the opening reception for Slopes For Hope on Friday night at the Stemwinder in Kimberley, where he will show the flip and bring along the Freedom Chair for those who haven't seen it.
"I'm looking forward to coming home," he said.
You can view the flip on the Daily Bulletin/Daily Townsman FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/#!/TownsmanBulletin