Collie local Shaun Pianta was on a rafting trip in Bali when he acquired a virus, affecting his eyesight. Damaging his optic nerve, the virus left Shaun with just 10 per cent vision.
An avid snowboarder before losing his vision, Shaun discovered Para-alpine skiing for vision impaired athletes at an expo run by Disabled Wintersport Australia in 2013.
It wasn’t long after that he attended an Australian Paralympic Committee Talent Search day for winter athletes, and at age 24, he set himself a goal of becoming a Paralympian.
In 2014, Shaun suffered a setback to his goal after breaking both of his legs in a ski accident ahead of his international debut. His shins bent the wrong way, leaving him unable to walk. Not letting his goal slip away, he returned to the slopes just seven months later and linked up with his current guide Jeremy O’Sullivan to begin working towards selection for PyeongChang 2018.
The duo gained crucial international experience at the 2017 IPC Para-alpine Europa Cup in Veysonnaz, Switzerland, posting career-best scores in the men’s Super-G race two and Giant Slalom to finish second in both events, before making their world championships debut later that month at the 2017 IPC Para-alpine World Championships in Tarvisio, Italy.
In his spare time Shaun enjoys doing Brazilian jiu-jitsu, mountain biking, fishing and watching Aussie Rules. He holds a degree in management from Open Colleges Australia.