Defending champion, John Erickson
From the American Blind Skiing Foundation
Brings home the Gold
John Erickson and his guide, Jim Gorman, won gold medals at the NASTAR National Championships at Winter Park, Colorado.
Over 1100 people from all over the country competed in two days of racing, and then the Gold medal winners raced once for the Championship.
Yes, Jim and John are both coming home with gold medals!
Jim and John arrived in Winter Park Wednesday morning. They practiced for a day, and then raced twice on Thursday. They had two pretty good times. On Friday, they had gotten tons of snow overnight and it was still snowing at race time so the course was full of "crud" and pretty skied off by the time they raced. On Sunday, they participated in the "Race of Champions" where all the gold medal winners do one race and made it top to bottom flawlessly. (It was a black hill so the challenge was definitely there.). After that race, they headed to the top of the mountain (Mary Jane run, 12,050 ft. elevation) and went top to bottom!
There were two other visually impaired skiers there. The thrill of racing is hard to adequately describe. As a VI skier, just chasing your guide down the hill, when they are not much more than a dark blur against the white-out of the snow, is heart-pounding enough, but then there's the additional rush of the countdown to the race, and the realization that not following exactly behind your guide will result in hitting a gate, or a fence, or put you into the sometimes crappie snow outside the race course! But, when it's all done, and you're standing at the bottom, the sense of accomplishment is enormous, no matter what your time is.
John hopes that others from ABSF and other VI skiers from around the country will give racing a try!