Copper Mountain hosts youth diabetics in Riding On Insulin camp |

Copper Mountain hosts youth diabetics in Riding On Insulin camp

Bryce Evans
summit daily news
special to the dailySean Busby tests his blood while on a snowboarding trip. Busby, a Type 1 diabetic is the founder of Riding On Insulin, a snowboarding camp aimed toward exposing those with diabetes to the sport.

In 2004, diabetes almost stripped professional snowboarder Sean Busby of his career and his life. Seven years later, Busby is using snowboarding to help others suffering from his same condition.

“Sharing one’s journey with others is the best medicine,” Busby said.

Saturday at Copper Mountain, that’s exactly what kids with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes will have the chance to do. Well, that and ride, as Busby hosts the Riding On Insulin ski and snowboard camp – a one-day program featuring instruction both on the slopes and balancing blood sugar.

“Riding On Insulin fosters a winter sport and snowboarding environment where youth living with diabetes may share tips on managing it and make new friends who are just like them,” Busby said. “I always find myself learning from the campers who come to my camp.”

Saturday’s camp is for kids ages 7-17 with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Families of campers are also encouraged to attend.

“Diabetes is truly a family disease; the entire family is affected the day a child is diagnosed,” Michelle Page-Alswager stated in a press release. Page-Alswager, a board member of Friends of Western Wisconsin JDRF, lost her son, Jesse, from complications of Type 1 diabetes in 2010. “That is what sets this camp apart from others – the ability to have the entire family participate and learn from one another.”

The camp is $80, and the fee includes a lift ticket, lunch, dinner and snacks, as well as the instruction.

After an orientation Friday evening, campers go through a full day (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) on the slopes with Busby and other riders and skiers.

Busby will also go over his own personal journey with diabetes at the banquet Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

It’s been seven years since Busby first felt sick while competing at a snowboarding event in Colorado. He lost drastic amounts of weight before, at 19 years old, doctors initially misdiagnosed him as a Type 2 diabetic. He went nearly three months taking pills rather than receiving insulin shots and continued to lose pound after pound, before he was finally correctly diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic and put on insulin.

“That first shot of insulin was amazing, and I could feel the life pumping back into me,” he stated on his website.

Still, Busby considered giving up snowboarding, not knowing if it would still be possible to ride at high elevations. After doing some research and reading stories of children with the disease, Busby decided he not only wanted to keep going, but he wanted to do something to give back to those kids.

Since then, Busby has used his position in snowboarding to help others with the disease through his camps – and his story has become inspirational to those he works with.

He now focuses mainly on “unique” snowboarding expeditions and filming. He’s been everywhere from New Zealand to Patagonia to Antarctica, the whole way managing his diabetes in order to do so.

After years of shots and standard insulin pumps, Busby switched to an OmniPod, which is the world’s first tube-less pump. Busby used to have issues with the tubes in traditional pumps freezing at high elevations while on his expeditions.

For more information on Busby or Riding On Insulin, visit

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