Winter Park Open enters day two
Blustery wind and lingering snow made for a patchy and at times icy slalom course Thursday morning, Dec. 17, at the 28th Annual Winter Park Open at Winter Park Resort.
But most racers seemed unfazed by the conditions as they sought their rhythm in the United State’s first International Paralympic Committee event of the season.
The National Sports Center for the Disabled hosts the event, which gives athletes an opportunity to improve their IPCAS point standing.
After her first run, NSCD athlete Katrina Schaber said the course felt good, though “it was a little icy in some spots.”
This is Schaber’s fourth year participating in the competition, she said.
“I’m just trying to start it off on a good note and just get my feet back underneath me for the season,” Schaber said.
For Allison Kunkel, 14, this was her first Winter Park Open.
“It was a pretty good run,” Kunkel said of her first slalom run. “I ran into a couple trouble spots, but I pushed through it pretty well.”
Paralympic Slalom Gold Medalist and 2014 Slalom World Champion Adam Hall said the course was “solid.”
Hall is competing in his twelfth Winter Park Open.
“The course is pretty consistent, and there’s a good field,” Hall said.
Paralympian Tyler Carter said the course was challenging but good.
“The snow is a little bumpy,” Carter said. “It’s a little patchy so you’ll go from a hard spot then to a really soft bump, but the course crew is a doing a really great job trying to maintain it.”
Many of the athletes on the slopes this week have their sights set on the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup in January 2016.
Race Chief Erik Petersen, who also coaches with the NSCD, said the event is a stepping-stone for many athletes.
“It’s more or less an entry-level race for us, but at the same time it opens a lot of doors for these athletes,” Petersen said.
Paralympian Jasmin Bambur has his sights on the World Cup podium.
“That’s what’s planned for this year,” he said.
The monoskier said he was happy with his runs on Wednesday and Thursday.
“The track is holding up great,” Bambur said. “There’s a lot of good guys here so it’s extra motivation to work hard.”
Paralympic Silver Medalist Corey Peters is competing in his fourth Winter Park Open.
“For me this is kind of just a build up for January, which is when the World Cup is,” Peters said. “Obviously, I want to do really well in the World Cup and go for the crystal globes.”
Races continue on Friday, Dec. 18, with the giant slalom.
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Over the past few days, a dozen fresh inches of snow dropped on Winter Park Resort.