Sunday, March 15, 2009

Visually impaired are amongst the athletes!

Sunday February 22nd saw 22 racers with a disability compete in the Vancouver Island Society for Adaptive Snowsport's (VISAS) 2009 Recreational 'Glalom' Race.

The event was run by VISAS and the Mount Washington Ski Club in partnership with the Disabled Skiers Association of BC, (DSABC).

The conditions were tough due to the new and continued snowfall and the competition was fierce! The athletes competed in the categories of visually impaired, sitting, standing and cognitive.

There was large turn out from VISAS's own race team as well as the team from the Vancouver Adaptive Snowsports Society, one new athlete from the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program and members from the BC Disabled Alpine Ski Team, (BCDAST).

The day prior to the race the athletes took part in a race development clinic run by Provincial Team Coaches.

These included Phil Chew, Head Coach of the BCDAST, himself a Paralympian.

Local female skiers that secured podium finishes were visually impaired skier Tamara St Denis and her guide Jen Bowlby who were awarded gold in the visually impaired category; Kristy Tymos received a gold in the women's sitting; new comer Rheanne McLaughin raced to gold medal position with just 12 days of skiing to date and Meghan Williams won gold in the cognitive division.

Local male skiers swept the medals in the men's standing division with Andreas Ratthiewicz winning gold and Braydon Luscombe silver, (both skiers are members of the BC Disabled Alpine Ski Team). However it was the Vancouver Mainland that swept the medals in the men's cognitive division with Mark Hopkins, (gold), Jesse Price, (silver) and Cory Duhaine, (bronze).

For full results visit

This is the first race in a brand new Provincial recreational race series supported by DSABC as part of its 'Building our Best' program.

The high performance program was initiated in 2003 in response to the recognized gap in athlete development between the recreational skier and the high performance athlete. DSABC also wanted to address the need to provide more support to athletes who then wanted to take part in racing on a recreational basis.


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