Disabled skiers brave elements at Breckenridge giant slalom
BRECKENRIDGE – Friday’s snowy weather may have postponed a women’s World Cup race in Aspen, but it didn’t stand in the way of a giant slalom NorAm at the Hartford Ski Spectacular in Breckenridge.”They wouldn’t do that,” men’s sit skiing winner Tyler Walker said when asked if he thought the race would be called off. “Not for a GS anyway – you can just slip the snow out. It’s going to be a little bumpy, but it makes it more fun.”Walker, the reigning X Games Mono Skier X champion, finished with a combined time of 1 minute, 52.9 seconds, ahead of fellow American Chris Devlin-Young (1:53.17) and Canadian Brad Lennea (1:56.32).”This is tremendously difficult skiing,” Devlin-Young said in regards to the storm that began dumping on Summit County Wednesday evening. “The rut at the gates is down to the hard snow and in between the gates there’s a little kicker, so we get air. It bounces us around quite a bit and it’s a challenge to stay in (the course), that’s for sure.”Snowfall was so constant on Friday that race organizers decided not to reset the GS course in between runs.
“It was a rare opportunity to run the same course twice,” said Devlin-Young, who finished second in the downhill at the 2006 Turin Paralympics. “And it was a wise decision because the more racers and slips that go down, the better the conditions get.”Summit sit skier Scott Meyer, who is aiming to join Devlin-Young on the U.S. Disabled Ski Team (Walker is taking a year away from the team to complete a degree at the University of New Hampshire), fell early in his first run and wound up at the bottom of the pack (21st place).Meyer didn’t let his early wipeout keep him from finishing both heats, however.”I had an equipment problem and got it figured out,” he said, “but when I started again, I was a minute late. My actual run was good, but the clock was ticking.”Other male winners on Friday included standing skier Adam Hall (New Zealand) and Canadian Christopher Williamson, the only competitor in the visually impaired male category.
Saturday’s sit skiing winner on the women’s side was Kimberly Joines of Canada, who finished with a two-run time of 2:00.41. Americans Laurie Stephens (2:09.76) and Ricci Kilgore (2:21.34) rounded out the podium.Joines, who also won Wednesday’s slalom at Breckenridge, seemed happy to get the season off to a good start.”It’s always nice to lay down a couple of good runs in the first race of the year,” said Joines, the super-G bronze medalist in Torino, “and to not end up in the trees, in the fence or in the big piles of snow.”Joines helped the Canadian women sweep both day’s events as Kathleen Forestell won the visually impaired division and Laure Woolstencroft was tops among standing female skiers in Thursday’s slalom and Friday’s giant slalom.Forestell can’t see out of her left eye and suffers from tunnel vision in her right eye.
“It’s my first year skiing with my guide, so we have to figure out a lot of stuff,” she said. “It’s going really well.””It’s 24 hours (a day) of being together,” said Forestell’s guide Julie-Christine Roy-Ruel. We’re in the same room, same plane, same races – we’re doing everything together, it’s a really good relationship.”Adam Boffey can be contacted at (970) 668-4634, or at email@example.com.
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