Sunday, January 02, 2005

park city race day #1

I was second in a Nor-Am slalom in Park City, Utah today. (Full results should soon be posted here.) Both runs were what we call a "rodeo": a really bumpy, rough ride where you just point the skis downhill as much as possible and try to hang on. A bunch of my main competitors crashed or skied out, but I laid down two ugly, not-too-slow runs and hung on for silver, with Tyler winning. He's now 2-for-2 this season.

People sometimes want to know how exactly a disabled ski race works, since there are people competing with a range of different physical disabilities. There are 15 basic disability classes (3 visually impaired and 12 mobility impaired), although some of these are divided into sub-classes as well. (My class is LW-11, the middle functional level of the 3 sitting classes. I think LW stands for "locomotor winter.") Every class and sub-class has a predetermined "factor," a decimal number (like 0.864438) by which a skier's time is multiplied. In theory, this equalizes everyone enough to allow us all to compete against each other regardless of disability. In practice, most people have come to agree that a 3-category system is best, with medals for the top sitting skiers, standing skiers, and visually impaired skiers (and factors applied to the different disability classes within each of these categories). After a recent decision by the International Paralympic Committee, all major races will use this format from now on. Previously, World Cups and Nor-Ams used a 3-category system while our biggest events, the Paralympics and World Championships, used a 15-category system (one for every single disability class). That made for a lot of medals awarded!

(By the way, if you understood all that, congratulations. You're ready to read more!)

1 comment:

Natalie said...

Not only did I understand what you were talking about but also... I admire you and - I envy you together. I once had an accident while skiing and can`t make myself ski again..although I do remember that feeling.. That passion... And you seem to be a professional.. know really a lot about it.. Seriously - good luck with revealing your passion. And congrats - for the second place today! :) nat