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U.S. Opens Ski Spectacular with 10 Podiums

posted: 12/11/2006

December 7, 2006

BRECKENRIDGE, CO - (USST News Bureau Release) - The 19th Annual Hartford Ski Spectacular opened Thursday at Breckenridge with the U.S. Disabled Alpine Team taking home 10 of 12 possible podium spots in slalom under partly sunny skies and perfect temps in the mid 30s.

Highlight on the day was a tight battle between sit-skiers Tyler Walker (sit-ski; Franconia, NH) and Carl Burnett (sit-ski; Cape Elizabeth, ME). Burnett, who was paralyzed below the waist in a car crash at age five, grabbed a first run lead before Walker turned on the gas in the second run, posting a wide enough margin for the win.

"It was fun dueling with Tyler," said Burnett, whose time held up over veteran Chris Devlin-Young (sit-ski; Campton, NH), "I'm just glad that he let me win the first run."

Walker, who has been working on some new equipment, said, "It was a great day. My new rig was solid, it felt good and everything clicked."

The standing men's podium belonged to Australia as Cameron Rahls-Rahbula took the win over teammate Toby Kane. Adam Hall from New Zealand was 3rd with U.S. Disabled Alpine Team members George Sansonetis (standup; Fraser, CO) in 4th and Brad Washburn (standup; Highlands Ranch, CO) in 5th.

There was also strong showing from the women with Paralympic slalom gold medalist Stephani Victor (sit-ski; Park City, UT) easily grabbing the two-run victory over 2006 World Cup overall champion Laurie Stephens (sit-ski; Wenham, MA). Ricci Kilgor (sit-ski; Reno, NV) was third.

"I'm so happy with my Rossignol skis, it was great to bring the sensations I've been experiencing in my freeskiing into my race runs," said Victor.

The U.S. Disabled Alpine Team then dominated the standing women's podium with 2006 Paralympic slalom bronze medalist Sandy Dukat (standup; Vail, CO) leading Hannah Pennington (standup; Denver, CO) and Elitsa Storey (standup; Sun Valley, ID) into the top three.

"The team put in a strong performance today," said U.S. Disabled Team Program Director Sandy Metzger. "The athletes have been working really hard all fall and it is exciting to see the hard work start to pay off."

The 19th Annual Hartford Ski Spectacular continues Friday with giant slalom.
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