Disabled skiers on top in World Cup races
The Canadian Disabled Alpine Ski Team (CDAST) athletes won their share of the medals during the recent World Cup races in Abtenau and Wildschonau, Austria. A record number of athletes, 187, competed from 28 different countries in four race events.
In the Abtenau races at the end of January, veteran skier Kimberley Joines and monoskier Lauren Woolstencroft both just missed the podium with fourth place finishes in the giant slalom. Blind skier Chris Williamson and his guide Rip Pridday won bronze in their division.
The super G event was strong for Canada, with Woolstencroft winning gold in the women's standing division and Joines taking silver in the sitting class.
Following those races, the team travelled to the IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in Wildschonau, which took place from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6.
Prince Edward of the House of Windsor and International Paralympic Committee President Phil Craven took part in the opening ceremonies.
Woolstencroft was again strong in the super G race, winning the world championship title, while ski skier Scott Patterson captured the silver in the LW12 Men's division. Joines took home the bronze in the sitting category.
Williamson suffered an initial setback in the blind division when his guide, Pridday, blew his knee. CDAST assistant coach Curtis Christian stepped up into the guide role, and the pair succeeded in winning three bronze medals in the super G, downhill and giant slalom.
Other notable mentions include Matt Hallat, who placed ninth in the competitive Men's LW2 category, and the solid performances by the team's rookies.
"Despite the tight schedule and lack of training opportunities, everyone has held up really well. It's been a terrific learning experience, especially for novice team members like Brad Lennea (Whistler), Gordon Tuck and Jeffery Penner," said CDAST head coach Ozzie Sawicki. "The World Cup circuit is definitely not as romantic as it first sounds."
The final races, a men's and women's giant slalom, were held on Wednesday, Feb. 4. Results to follow next week.
Following the conclusion of the championships, CDAST members will get a few days off before heading to Kimberley, B.C. for World Cup races from Feb. 23-28.
Complete race results can be found at www.event2004.at or www.weltcup.org.