Matt Potratz, a renowned snowmobile athlete, has left an indelible mark on the world of backcountry riding. With his exceptional skills and fearless approach, Potratz pushed the boundaries of what can be achieved on a sled. However, life took an unexpected turn during a filming session when an avalanche nearly claimed his life. Despite the setback, Potratz has transformed his experience into one of inspiration and motivation, sharing his story and uplifting audiences worldwide.
Raised in a small mountain town, Potratz's passion for snowmobiling ignited at a young age. Drawn to the allure of the snow-covered slopes, he fearlessly explored the backcountry, setting himself on a path to master the art of snowmobile freestyle. As Potratz honed his skills, his natural talent and unwavering determination caught the attention of the snowmobiling community. His breathtaking jumps, precise trick execution, and flawless landings solidified his reputation as a rising force in the sport.
Matt Potratz's career is marked by numerous milestones and accolades. He has stood on the podium of prestigious competitions such as the Winter X Games, earning medals and gaining recognition as one of the top snowmobile freestyle athletes in the world. His innovative riding style and willingness to push the limits have earned him respect from his peers and admiration from fans worldwide.
Forging Strong Partnerships
Tom Delanoy, the founder of 509, recognized the importance of attracting and retaining top athletes and established formal contracts and sponsorships with them. Potratz, being one of the leading backcountry riders in the Pacific Northwest at the time, caught Delanoy's attention with his exceptional riding skills. The bond between Potratz and 509 grew organically, with his career and the brand's reputation evolving hand in hand. This early connection between Potratz and 509 would prove instrumental in both their careers.
In the initial years, 509 focused on producing films, featuring athletes like Potratz in various film parts. However, there was a desire to offer more than just film appearances. In 2007, 509 launched their own goggle line, opening up new possibilities. This progression allowed athletes like Potratz to not only showcase their talent in films but also become ambassadors for 509's products. By signing goggle contracts, 509 provided exclusive product agreements to athletes, expanding their partnerships beyond film appearances. This innovative approach created a mutually beneficial relationship between the athletes and the brand, leveraging the captive audience of the films to drive interest in 509's gear.
Even as 509 expanded its reach and gained global recognition, the connections formed in the early days remained strong. Tom Delanoy, the founder of 509, maintains close relationships with Matt Potratz, Turcotte, and many of the early riders. This camaraderie and continued friendship speak to the tight-knit community that exists within the snowmobile industry. These enduring connections serve as a reminder of the shared experiences, memories, and passion that bind athletes and industry pioneers together.
Inspiration and Motivation
After the avalanche incident that changed his life, Matt Potratz shifted his focus from snowmobile riding to inspiring others through his journey of recovery. He now dedicates his time to conducting riding clinics for riders with disabilities, delivering motivational speeches, and working on a book about his accident and life-changing experience. Potratz's goal is to inspire others with his hard-fought recovery and show them the power of perseverance and determination.
Potratz also published a book called Two Hands where Potratz shares his personal experience of a life-altering accident that left him with the use of just one hand. With unwavering determination and a relentless spirit, he chronicles his path to recovery and self-discovery, proving that even in the face of tremendous challenges, one can find the strength to overcome and thrive. "Two Hands" is not just a tale of resilience; it is a testament to the power of the human spirit and the capacity for individuals to turn adversity into opportunity. Potratz's story is an inspiring reminder that, with perseverance and the right mindset, one can achieve remarkable success and live a fulfilling life.
Matt Potratz's journey from a small mountain town to becoming a snowmobile freestyle sensation is a testament to his unwavering dedication, unmatched skill, and fearless attitude. His partnership with 509 exemplifies the symbiotic relationship between snowmobile athletes and gear companies. Through their collaboration, Potratz and 509 propelled each other to new heights, with Potratz's incredible talent inspiring the development of top-quality snowmobile gear. As the legacy of their early connection endures, it serves as a testament to the power of collaboration and shared passion within the snowmobiling community.