Finding Balance: Silver Medalist Mike Shea and the Road to Sochi

 

Mike Shea finding balance.

Mike Shea finding balance.

Originally published by Club Colorado – The Official Blog of Colorado Ski Country USA

One year ago Mike Shea, paralympic snowboarder and 2014 silver medalist was standing on a podium at Russia’s Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre just 30 miles from the Black Sea. That moment was the realization of a dream of more than four years.

Shea, then donning a shining silver medal, was one third of the U.S. sweep of the debut of Paralympic snowboard cross. Standing with Shea were teammates Evan Strong, gold medalist, and Keith Gabel, who won bronze. If there’s such a thing as “break-out” season in ski and snowboard racing, 2013/14 was it for Shea. His silver medal performance in Sochi frosted a season that included becoming the first overall para-snowboard World Cup Champion and he posted several other first and second place finishes.

But seven years earlier Shea was on the opposite end of the spectrum of an Paralympic silver medalist. He was an alcoholic and addicted to pain medication. It was a road he had been traveling down for the past few years. Selfishness grew, destructive incidents mounted, and family and friends grew tired of being lied to and used. Shea finally reached the road’s dead end in 2006. REQUEST FULL POST

NSCD President Becky Zimmerman Sees Lives Changing Every Day

Becky Zimmermann, CEO of the National Sports Center for the Disabled, from her offices at Mile High Stadium.

Becky Zimmermann, CEO of the National Sports Center for the Disabled, from her offices at Mile High Stadium.

 

Stories of perseverance, trauma, determination, struggle, dis-appointment, hard work, athletic achievement, triumph, and an occasional tear; it’s just another day at work for Becky Zimmermann, president and CEO of the National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD).

NSCD is based in Winter Park with administrative offices at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Zimmermann’s desk is just a few chain lengths away from the North end zone.

She grew up in Evergreen, earned her MBA at the University of Colorado, and she’s been NSCD’s CEO since 2012. She’s well recognized for her work in planning and designing major resorts around the world including Hakuba 47 in Japan.

This year America’s longest running competitive ski race, the Wells Fargo Ski Cup, celebrates its 40th running. It’s the signature fund raiser for the NSCD and draws 5,000 fans to Winter Park Resort. Here’s more from our chat with Becky Zimmermann. (Originally published by Club Colorado – The Official Blog of Colorado Ski Country USA).

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Record 200,000 Fans Turn Out For Alpine World Championships At Vail/Beaver Creek

Vail Mayor Andy Daly has a moment with 2014 Olympic Gold Medalist Mikaela Shiffrin. (Photo courtesey of the Mayor.)

Vail Mayor Andy Daly has a moment with 2014 Olympic Gold Medalist Mikaela Shiffrin. (Photo courtesey of the Mayor.)

 SnoCountry.com checked in with Vail Mayor Andy Daly, a ski industry veteran, who said his town was blown away by the fan participation, particularly for the Men’s Downhill Feb. 7. Estimates are some 20,000 fans filled the grandstands and lined the course for the downhill alone. This was the third time the event has been held in the Vail Valley.

“The number of spectators was bigger than any other alpine race in the U.S., and based on feedback from some of our friends in Park City, even bigger than the Olympic races held there in 2002,” Daly said. READ FULL ARTICLE

How a Bus Ride Ignited Zach Miller’s Paralympic Dreams

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Originally published by Club Colorado – The Official Blog of Colorado Ski Country USA

If you were a young boy growing up with cerebral palsy, and all you really wanted to do was play sports and keep up with the other kids in school, but you couldn’t, you’d probably have some down moments.

You might get discouraged if you weren’t as strong as the others, or couldn’t run as fast, or jump as high. There would probably be days that you felt somewhat alone in your circumstance.

Put that same young boy on a bus with a few dozen other children – all with similar challenges and heading for a day of skiing and snowboarding – and you might find that by the time he gets home he has a totally new perspective on life. It was just such a bus ride that ignited 15 year old Zach Miller’s passion for snowboarding. REQUEST FULL POST

Stoke the 2015 World Alpine Champs

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Three-time Olympian Steven Nyman. Photo courtesy Steven Nyman.

Fresh off winning a record 64th World Cup, Lindsey is well-poised to continue smashing the record, and Vonn-a-mania will be running at a fevered pitch in Vail next week. Eyes will also be on Steven Nyman, who just placed 5th in the downhill Jan.2 24 in Kitzbuehel.

This is only the fourth time that the World Alpine Championships have been held in the U.S., and the entire U.S. Ski Team is pumped to be on their home snow. We recently caught up with Tiger Shaw, CEO of the U.S. Ski Team, who says getting the Europeans on our turf “is a big deal because we’ve removed their advantage of being at home and we’ve increased ours.”

You can be sure that Mikaela Shiffrin, Ted Ligety, Julia Mancuso, Bode Miller, and Andrew Weibrecht will be bringing it. Here are a few tools and tips for stoking the World Alpine Championships. READ FULL POST

 

25 Killer Gifts for Skiers and Riders

2 DPS WailerSo often it’s the story behind the brand that makes it awesome. When the folks at Liftopia, Inc. asked me to put together a list of great gifts for skiers and riders, I knew it would be a fun project and I already had a partial list in my head.

I reached out to my most trusted powder friends for further guidance. It’s a fun yet sometimes impossible challenge to try to tell a brand’s story in five sentences or less, but I certainly look forward to sharing more about some of the folks on the list. Happy New Year. READ FULL POST

 

The Life of an Avy Dog

 

Rio the Avy Dog. Photo courtesy Arapahoe Basin ski area.

Rio the Avy Dog. Photo courtesy Arapahoe Basin ski area.

I want to be reincarnated as an avalanche rescue dog. I mean think about it: You get to hit the slopes pretty much every day of the season, you and your best friend are always the first ones on the chair on a powder day, there’s treats, there’s petting, and even someone else to pick up your poop.

 People literally fall out of their bindings to fawn over avy dogs. They are the rock (and movie) stars of ski areas, and many of them even have their own trading cards.

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 WATCH RIO THE  AVY DOG

Vail Mayor Andy Daly is Stoked for 2015 World Alpine Championships

Originally published in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Nov. 11, 2014).

Daly_web (2)In less than 100 days some 35,000 ski fans and families from around the globe will descend upon Colorado’s Vail Valley for the 2015 World Alpine Championships. 

The event runs Feb. 2-15 and is expected to nearly triple the population of Vail and Avon. These numbers might seem a little daunting to a mountain town mayor, but Vail’s Andy Daly is not your average mayor.

It would be fair to add Daly to the list of skiing politicians, except most of the others on the list can’t ski. How many places has he skied? He’d love to tell you, but he’s kind of lost count. Let’s just call it hundreds of ski areas in North America and Europe.

And even at 68, Daly’s still skipping work and ripping it up with his friends on powder days. The Mayor skips work on powder days? (Oops, did we just say that?)

In addition to his Mayoral gig, Daly is also part-owner and operator of Powderhorn, including 750 acres of undeveloped land at the base of the resort. And when he’s not doing that, he’s helping steer the development of Alpine Mountain Ranch and Club, an exclusive single-family community in Steamboat adjacent to the ski area.

There aren’t many ski bums that can match Daly’s resume, so we caught up with him to chat about as his town’s preparation for the 2015 WAC. It’s only the third time the event has been held in the U.S., and Daly was front and center during the previous two WACs held in 1989 and 1999, well sort of anyway. Here’s more from Daly on his town’s preparation for the 2015 World Alpine Championships. REQUEST FULL POST

 

Q&A with Olympic Gold Medalist Mikaela Shiffrin

 

Olympic Gold Medalist Mikaela Shiffrin. Photo courtesy of Mikaela.

Olympic Gold Medalist Mikaela Shiffrin. Photo courtesy of Mikaela.

If you were going to make a list of things nobody said ever, than you might add this: “Now that I’ve won an Olympic gold medal I can’t wait to study for my SATs.” When we recently caught up with Mikaela Shiffrin, she was already training for the upcoming ski season, and more immediately, passing her college admissions test and enrolling in a few courses. Here’s more on our conversation: REQUEST FULL POST