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Killington skier training with NSCD

Spencer Wood in Winter Park on a rest day from training Feb. 15.
Kristen Lodge / Sky-Hi News |

After 10 days of training in Winter Park, Spencer Wood, 19 will be heading to Aspen to race in his first IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup Finals Feb. 24-26 for NSCD. Then he will be back in Winter Park for the Wells Fargo Cup Feb 26-28.

Wood is from Killington, Vermont and graduated high school from Killington Mountain School (KMS) at Killington Ski Resort. He now attends the PG (post-graduate) program as he prepares for more racing and college next year. Wood started racing in the disabled programs when Erin Fernandez, the director of Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sport told the Wood family about the Hartford Ski Spectacular, an event hosted by Disabled Sports USA at the Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge every year. In December 2014 Wood decided to attend the race week program to find out what it was all about.

“I had no idea who anyone was but I met kids my age and skill level; it was so much fun. It was my first race skiing as a disabled skier and I just loved it,” he said.

He met NSCD Competition Center Director and head coach of the alpine team, Erik Petersen at the race. Petersen invited him to join NSCD.

“We collaborate and have outreach programs throughout the US and world. The adaptive world is small so we partner with organizations such as Disabled Sports USA. I go to that race to look for emerging athletes. Spencer was an up and coming skier,” Petersen said.

At NSCD skiers can train and ski with other racers and are not required to be on the team. “We work together and support each other,” he said.

After the Colorado experience it was full speed ahead for Wood; training and racing as much as he could. He started traveling and racing in the US and Europe.

In June Wood traveled to Austria for a ski camp on glaciers and in August was in New Zealand for 10 days with the US National Paralympics Team. In October he trained in Switzerland for 12 days, training harder than ever. In November he came to Colorado to train with NSCD at Copper Mountain and then up to British Columbia in December for six days.

Wood grew up not knowing he was disabled.

“When I was in 4th grade I wondered why I wasn’t progressing in sports, then my parents told me I was disabled. Before I was born I had a stroke and it affected my entire right side. It’s hard to tell I am a disabled athlete when I’m on skis. I do walk with a limp,” he said. Head injury and stroke are one of the categories that qualify as adaptive or disable skiing.

This week, Wood started out with a few rest days “to calm mind and body before the four races in Aspen,” he said.

“I want to do well at the World Cup.”

He is the first athlete from KMS to go to the World Cup. He was told last week that he qualified for the race as a wild card.

On Wednesday he will start a training regiment that includes skiing in the morning and afternoon at Winter Park Resort.

Wood heads back to Vermont on Feb. 29 and back to training with KMS coach, Pavel Stastny after the World Cup and Wells Fargo Cup.

And while Killington is his home base for now, he’s hoping to attend college in Colorado to study marketing.

“UC Boulder is my first choice and I’m waiting to hear if I will be admitted,” he said.

“We knew long ago we’d lose him to the western mountains,” said Barb Wood, his mother.

“He has made some great friends since he started racing in the disabled circuit.”

Wood hopes to qualify for the 2018 Korea Paralympics.

“If I qualify and get to go to Korea my dad will buy everyone plane tickets,” Wood said with a big smile.


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