Pro Skier Tim Durtschi Reveals He’s Battling Inflammatory Auto Immune Disease

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Tim Durtschi
Credit: Tim Durtschi

Legendary big mountain skier Tim Durtschi shared a post on Instagram yesterday explaining his absence from the scene in 2023. Feeling exhausted and fatigued, Durtschi saw a doctor and was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, a genetic auto-immune disease, in January.

Alaska native, Jackson Hole, WY, athlete, and now based in Salt Lake City, UT, Durtschi says with hindsight he has been “fighting the symptoms for the past decade,” putting them down to “skiing pains.” Now, with a diagnosis, he knows what he is up against and can “tackle this problem head on.”

“Looking back at this season, there were many great experiences mixed in with a few very challenging ones. I started off the season with a packed itinerary. I was a super excited to travel and feeling ready to go just like any other season. After a trip to Colorado, Canada and Lake Tahoe in December, I was feeling exhausted and fatigued, something was definitely off.

After trying to ski through the pain into January, I decided to travel back to Oregon to see a doctor and get to the bottom of what was going on.

After some blood tests and MRIs, I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. I was aware this disease was present in my families genetics. I just attributed the symptoms to “skiing pains” throughout my 20’s and 30’s. This year the symptoms hit hard and there was no overpowering what my body was doing to itself.

My diagnosis came around the average age, yet I have been fighting the symptoms for the past decade and to be honest I’m happy that I know what’s going on so I can tackle this problem head on. If anyone has experience with AS or any auto-immune issues I’m happy to hear any and all advice and stories.

AS affects everyone differently and I am tuning in to figure out how my body reacts so I can reduce the inflammation and get back to skiing. I have been able to use skiing as exercise and movement but the goal is to get back to the level I was at and I have no doubts that this is possible it will just take time.

Thanks to all my sponsors and TGR for supporting me through this healing journey. Thanks to @kaijonesski and @tgrtoddjones for making space in there home for me to heal alongside Kai who was recovering from his injury. Inflammation sucks but the goal is remission and I’m aiming for that goal each and every day! 💟@medicinewheelwellness @hyperice#ankylosingspondolitis#healingjourney #remission #normatec#medicinewheelwellness”

– Tim Durtschi

Tim Durtschi
Credit: Tim Durtschi

Durtschi was born in Alaska and grew up skiing at Alyeska Ski Resort, and spent most of his professional career shooting films. The skier, in his mid-thirties, has competed in the X-Games, Redbull’s Linecatcher, and starred in many TGR films. Tim’s bits in these films often involve him skiing dream lines in lofty places.

According to Wikipedia, Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a type of arthritis characterized by long-term inflammation of the joints of the spine typically where the spine joins the pelvis. Occasionally areas affected may include other joints such as the shoulders or hips. Eye and bowel problems may occur as well as back pain. Joint mobility in the affected areas generally worsens over time. The cause is unknown, and there is no cure.

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