Cold temps, blustery wind mark third day of Wells Fargo Ski Cup
It was a cold and blustery day Sunday as disabled athletes, spectators, friends and well-wishers converged on the base of Winter Park Resort for day three of the 43rd annual Wells Fargo Ski Cup.
Sunday marked the third and final day of the annual ski event, the longest running professional ski race still being held in the country, with the World Disabled Invitational qualifiers held early in the morning. Skiing action got underway starting at 9 a.m. and continued at 10 a.m. with the Kids Snowplow Sprint event held on Lower Hughes.
The World Disabled Invitational finals kicked off shortly after 11 a.m. with racers competing in side-by-side sprints to the finish line in competitive heats that whittled down the competition. The atmosphere was fun and festive but the cold late February weather kept racers on their toes.
“It is pretty cold out there,” Danny Puffpaff, Fraser resident and disabled skiing icon, said. “There are really a lot of guys and girls out there that are pretty gutsy racing in these conditions. It is pretty slick on that course, really hard packed snow. But that is what racers like.”
Puffpaff, who has participated in the Wells Fargo Ski Cup in one form or another since its inceptions 43 years ago, said he was glad he was not racing Sunday in the frigid temps.
Kyle Moxley, a Paonia based skier, had just stepped into the competitor’s tent near the race course’s finish line when he paused to talk about his day. Moxley has been training for the Wells Fargo Cup for the past two years but took his first competition turns in the popular event this weekend.
“We have had some great racers,” Moxley said. “Today has been pretty good. Snow is fluffier than it was yesterday. It is cold and a little bit windy at the top, but pretty good. It has been fun, I love it.”
Visually impaired local skier Larry Martin had just wrapped up his final race of the day, shortly after noon, when he paused to talk about his performance. Martin, a Fraser resident, lost his final heat of the day by a mere two-one hundredths of a second but his spirits were not dampened.
“It has been fun,” Martin said over the whistling wind blowing through the resort base. “We make a lot of donations for the NSCD and it really helps out the program.”
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