Local skiers joined hallowed Utah Ski Archives
Every year, the Utah Ski Archives Ski Affair honors history makers from around the Intermountain West. This year marked an extra-special induction for Park City with six of its residents joining the hallowed halls of the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah where the archives are kept.
Among the six honored were Park City athletes Olympic gold medalists Ted Ligety and Julia Mancuso, Paralympic gold medalists Stephani Victor and Monte Meier and skiing standouts Erik Schlopy and Nate Roberts.
According to Ski Archives Advisory Board Chair, Barbara Yamada, the Ski Affair likes to induct current athletes in Olympic years, rather than the usual athletes of the past. Any athlete from the Intermountain area who had medaled in the 2006 Olympics or Paralympics or the World Championships or a World Cup event between 2003-2006 was formally invited to be inducted into the archives.
"They are making ski history now, while the ones we normally honor have made ski history," Yamada explained. "This year is meant to honor the new people."
Yamada, a Parkite herself, has been committed to the Ski Affair’s success for over a decade. A friend of the late Suzy Raemer, who originally organized the event, she feels compelled, along with the rest of the Ski Archives board and the Marriot Library staff, to see it continue year after year.
"We all do it, because we love it and love each other and respect each other," Yamada said.
Also honored were Steve Fox, Paralympic gold medallist in cross-country from Salt Lake, Clay Fox, a disabled alpine skier from Gillette, Wyo. and Lacey Heward, a Paralympic medalist from Boise, Idaho.
The Park City honorees:
Ted Ligety- Park City’s native son, who grew up racing with the Park City Ski Team, has already made a lasting name for himself. Among his top achievements are a 2005 FIS NorAm Cup, a World Cup giant slalom event and the slalom title at the U.S. Alpine National Championships and of course, the memorable combined/slalom gold in the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy.
Julia Mancuso- The Winter School grad capped off 2006 with a gold medal in the giant slalom in the 2006 Olympic Games, silver in the downhill and giant slalom and a bronze in slalom at the U.S. Alpine Championships.
Monte Meier- The three-track skier one leg and two outriggers — has already put together a career’s worth of shining achievements on the slopes, including a Paralympic silver medal in slalom in 2002, a World Cup Championship in slalom in 2002, a 2004 World Championship bronze in slalom, and first in the final World Cup slalom in 2005.
"I think my favorite moment would be how the Paralympics and World Cup circuit have become more competitive over the years and I’ve been able to maintain my competitiveness. It’s exciting," Meier said.
This year, he has even more to celebrate. He has made the decision to return to the U.S. Ski Team for another year to try and win an overall World Cup title and he recently got married.
Being part of the Ski Archives is another accomplishment he is pretty happy about.
"It caught me by surprise," Meier said. "It’s a big honor to be recognized at this stage to be part of this tradition."
Stephani Victor- The actress/filmmaker turned disabled skier cruised to Paralympic gold in the sit-ski women’s slalom this past winter at the 2006 Paralympic Games. Victor also won Paralympic bronze in the downhill in 2002, as well as the 2004 World Cup slalom championship, the 2004 World Championship slalom gold, super G silver and downhill bronze, and the 2002 World Championships in slalom. She has six U.S. ski titles three in slalom, two in giant slalom and one in super G.
"My proudest moment was at the Paralympics and the feeling ‘I did it’ and hearing the national anthem," Victor said. "I heard the music play and I was sobbing uncontrollably."
Even with the pride and excitement of winning gold, Victor still says that she never expected to be part of ski history.
"Of course it’s an incredible honor to be recognized by the great historians of Utah," Victor said. "To be recognized by the Utah Ski Archives is deeply moving."
Like Meier, Victor plans to return to the U.S. team this season in pursuit of the overall World Cup title. Despite winning a gold medal and all of her accomplishments, she has yet to win the overall globe.
"The last three years, I’ve been second," Victor laments.
Nate Roberts- This Winter School grad made his debut in 2003 and won a World Cup in moguls the following year. Some other noteworthy accomplishments include gold in moguls at the 2005 World Championships, and the U.S. moguls and dual moguls title. He also won a World Cup duals event. In 2006, he won the Freestyle World Cup.
Even with all of those achievements, Roberts takes the humble approach.
"I’m definitely honored and privileged to be part of this special event tonight," Roberts said. "I have a lot of great athletes around me. This is a big deal, as a 24-year-old, I’m not taking it for granted, I see how great this is."
And Roberts is hoping to add to his accomplishments by making the Olympic team in 2010, something he failed to do in 2006.
"It will take little steps, being here is a step," Roberts said. "It’s going to be a challenge, but I look forward to that."
Erik Schlopy- Schlopy has been a member of the U.S. Olympic team in 1994, 2002 and 2006, among many other achievments. Some of those accomplishments include being the owner of seven U.S. ski titles, silver in slalom and bronze in giant slalom at the 2002 U.S. National Championships, bronze in giant slalom at the 2004 National Championships and gold in the giant slalom at the U.S. National Alpine Championships.
"I look back and it’s without regret," Schlopy said, reflecting on his long and illustrious career. "Making friends along the way and the support of my family and to be able to ski race as long as I have has been great for me."
Perhaps his most proud accomplishment, though, is the recent addition of his daughter, Skye Bella, who was born this past spring to Schlopy and his wife, Summer Sanders, a two-time gold medalist in swimming at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. He says it’s Skye Bella’s presence spurring him on to continue to do great things on the slopes.
"I want to use my dad strength for the next couple of years." Schlopy said.
For more information on the Utah Ski Archives, visit http://www.skiarchives.org.
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