Newcomer Huddleston wins 11 events, highlights champions at this year’s Summit County 50+ Winter Games
At the 38th annual Summit County 50+ Winter Games, it was newcomer Michelle Huddleston who won a gold medal in every competition she entered within the 50-54 age group.
The first-time entrant Huddleston was the most impressive athlete at this year’s games, winning gold in the giant slalom, the rally race, the one-lap skating race, the four-lap skating race, figure skating, the hockey goal shoot, the obstacle course, the 2.5K beginner classic, the biathlon, the short snowshoe race and the snowball toss.
“Next year, we hope there are a lot more competitors in that age group to give her some stiffer competition,” the event’s chairwoman, Barbara Becker, lightheartedly said in an email.
The event’s activities spanned Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at Keystone and Frisco Nordic centers, before the customary gold, silver and bronze medals were given out to all of the contestants.
For these championship seniors, however, with medals in-hand, there remained one question:
“What to do with the medals,” said Darlene Dietzer, member of the 50+ Winter Games Committee.
“The suggestion was made,” Dietzer continued, “to give them to your grandchildren, great-grandchildren, their friends and the youngsters in the neighborhood. The young boys and girls can play their games and have their dreams.
“Keep the dream and Olympic spirit alive!”
Becker also highlighted Senior Games participants who have competed at the event for many years, including Isolde Haas and Midge Luebstorf of the 85-to-90 age group.
“Both have competed for several years and had a great time competing again this year,” Becker said.
For the first time this year, the Senior Games’ skating events moved from Keystone’s lake to the Dercum Rink at the resort’s River Run Plaza.
“We actually had more figure skating contestants this year than for the past several years,” Becker said. “It was a lot of fun to watch the seniors showing us their marvelous skating ‘tricks.’”
Becker also said the annual obstacle course event at Keystone was a hit again this year, once again benefiting those shorter competitors with shorter skis. As for new events, the Frisco Nordic Center hosted a debut 10K Nordic race.
“The Summit County and Front Range sponsors were extremely generous with their support of the games,” Becker said. “We have again raised a significant amount of money for the Summit County Seniors through donations from the sponsors, and the participation of the seniors.”
Also as part of this year’s games, Breckenridge Ski Resort co-founder Trygve Berge spoke to Senior Games competitors.
Born in Voss, Norway, in 1932, Berge was a downhill skier and participated in the 1956 Olympics in Italy. Afterward, his friend, Stein Erickson, brought him to the U.S. to teach skiing in Michigan and Aspen.
A stone mason by trade, Berge bought a lumber yard in Breckenridge. Legend has it, he and his friends stood at the bottom of Horse Bowl, looked around and decided it was a perfect place to build cabins and start a ski area.
The rest, as they say, is history.
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