Summit County Special Olympics Alpine Team earns 11 medals at Copper Winter Games |

Summit County Special Olympics Alpine Team earns 11 medals at Copper Winter Games

The Summit County Special Olympics Alpine Ski Team at Copper Mountain after a fantastic showing at the 2017 Colorado Special Olympics Winter Games (from left): Vital LaRocque, Kelly Faber, Caroline Willis, Scott Kennedy (coach), Erikka Abbott, Steven Kennedy and Zeke Moran. At the 2017 event, the six ski team members took home 11 medals, including six golds and five silvers, in both slalom and giant slalom.
Special to the Daily |

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the fastest alpine skiers you won’t see at the next Winter Olympics.

On March 5, six Summit County athletes and their coaches joined dozens of alpine skiers and other winter sports enthusiasts for the 2017 Colorado Special Olympics Winter Games at Copper Mountain Resort. The local crew left with a whopping 11 medals — that’s at least one per skier — for a total of six gold medals and five silver medals split between slalom and giant slalom. The entire team competed in both events.

Zeke Moran had the best showing of the day for the Summit County Special Olympics Alpine Team and went undefeated in both races for two gold medals. Kelly Faber, Steven Kennedy and Erikka Abbott also had landmark days on the slopes, with each skier taking home a gold and a silver. Rounding out the team were Vital LaRocque with one gold medal and Caroline Willis, who finished up with two silver medals.

The six locals had been practicing as a team at Copper since December to get ready for the Winter Games. Like it has for several years, Copper held complimentary Special Olympics training days once or twice a week for two months, hosted by an all-volunteer staff with help from local coaches. This year’s Winter Games marked the 29th edition of the event, which annually draws more than 250 skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers and cross-country skiers from across the state and region for competition in six events: slalom and giant slalom for skiers and snowboarders, plus cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

“Alpine skiers and snowboarders are a close-knit group,” said Susan Foege, director of competition for the Special Olympics Colorado offices in Denver, in a previous Summit Daily article. “These athletes really get to know each other through that eight-week training program and that’s not really typical for our other sports.”

The Summit County Special Olympics Alpine Team wants to congratulate all of the athletes on a job well done, and sends “thanks” to all the coaches, volunteers and Copper Mountain officials who made the state Winter Games a success. Until next year!

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