Crested Butte Training Pays Off for 2014 Winter Paralympics

Recently, there was some great news for adaptive snowboard athletes, coaches and fans from around the world. It was announced that para-snowboarding was accepted into the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia. It’s very likely that a handful of the para-snowboard athletes that were living, training and competing in Crested Butte this past winter will be representing team U.S.A in Russia.

The para-snowboarders race on a boarder-cross course one person at a time. They use a time trial format with a slingshot start. Before the 2011-2012 ski season, Adaptive Action Sports (AAS) planned on getting settled in Crested Butte. Partners Daniel Gale and Amy Purdy founded the AAS in 2005. The AAS, the athletes and the Adaptive Sports Center formed a close relationship this past winter, helping each other out as needed. The Adaptive Sports Center provided a place to store the AAS gear and vehicles to transport athletes. AAS athletes then helped out the Adaptive Sport Center. They also all received training from the Adaptive Sports Center and became certified level I Adaptive snowboard instructors.

Getting snowboarding into the Paralympics was no easy task, and a group of people has been working on this ultimate goal for six years. They almost had the sport in the games in 2011, but Russia denied it. They never really knew why. The group didn’t give up and kept pressing the issue. Finally, this spring, they got the official “yes” that para-snowboarding would be part of the 2014 games.

Now it’s time for the athletes to do some serious training. They have a good idea who will be on the team, but have to get everything hashed out officially. Most athletes for the games have four years to prepare, but because of the delay, these athletes have less time and will have to work harder.

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