Special athletes shine on Silver Mountain
Special Olympics athletes and volunteers took to the Silver Mountain slopes last Saturday.
The Special Olympic athletes and volunteers gathered to say the Pledge Of Allegiance and sing the National Anthem before heading up the 3.1-mile-long gondola ride to Silver Mountain.
The Special Olympics athletes participated in a parade before heading up to Silver Mountain to compete.
Staff Reporter | March 21, 2023 11:39 AM
KELLOGG — Last Saturday was the perfect day for the Special Olympics athletes, with clear skies and excellent skiing and boarding conditions. More than 17 athletes traversed up the 3.1-mile gondola to try their hand (or legs) on Ross Run on Silver Mountain in Kellogg.
Three teams were participating, from Kootenai, Sandpoint and the Silver Valley, with around 30 volunteers coming together for the event.
The day began with the opening ceremonies with the athletes starting with the pledge of allegiance, singing the national anthem, taking photos, and participating in a small parade with all the contestants proudly moving along.
“There was a little bit of everything,” said Special Olympics volunteer Heidi Klein. “Once they were finished, we made it up to the lodge, and decided how we were going to break up the groups.”
The groups were not separated by age, but by the individual needs each athlete has to help them be the most successful. The skiers and snowboarders could do one practice run and then complete the run two official times, taking the best time out of the two.
“After everyone completed their runs, we passed out the medals and basically everyone who competed got something.”
The athletes began training up on Silver Mountain at the beginning of January, as each competitor received a free Sunday pass for themselves and a helper.
“Silver Mountain helps set up the whole race track for us up there,” Klein said. “They are really great to work with and they’re very patient. The mountain also donates the Sunday passes for athletes and helpers to practice before the competition.”
A snowshoe competition was also planned this year, but due to some technical issues with competitors and volunteers, it couldn’t take place this year.
“We would love to see more people out here. More athletes. They were going to do a snowshoe race, but we only had one person show up. So instead, she put on a dinosaur costume and became the T-Rex cheerleader of the day,” Klein said.
She continued that there are opportunities for athletes throughout the year, like bowling and bicycling.
“We have eight bowlers right now, and I would love if we could double that. We get free shoe rentals, and the owner opens up the Mullan bowling alley just for us. And then they will finish with a competition in Coeur d’Alene.”
For more information on signing up to become an athlete or a volunteer, visit specialolympicsidaho.org.