2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships preparations underway

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ramon Moliner, Ivan Tibau, Mariona Masdemont and Enric Ticó at Tuesday's flag exchange
Image: IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships La Molina 2013.

Preparations are underway ahead of the 2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championship, with a flag exchange taking place Tuesday, volunteer recruitment ongoing, USParalympics unveiling a new uniform for their team, skiers like the United States's Jon Lujan actively training for the event and other skiers competing in preparation for the Championships in a World Cup event Wednesday.

Tuesday in La Molina, Spain, the president of Governmental Railways of Catalonia, Enric Ticó, and the mayor of Alp, Ramon Moliner, were gifted with flags by representatives of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and Catalan Government at a ceremony in Colet Museum of Barcelona at one of the first official events ahead of the 2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championship, which starts next week. As of Wednesday, event organisers were still seeking volunteers to assist with running the Championship. The opening ceremonies are scheduled for next Tuesday.

Entering the event, skiers had the opportunity to qualify through eight World Cup events held with only two disciplines on the program, Giant Slalom and Slalom. The first four were held in Sestriere, Italy, with the most recent four all being held in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Standing female French skier Marie Bochet has won six World Cups ahead of the World Championships and is considered by event organizers as a favorite in the standing group. Russian standing skier Alexey Bugaev is also considered a favorite by organisers as he won two Slalom and one Giant Slalom World Cup competition. In the women's sit-ski, German Anna Schaffelhuber is considered the favorite having prepared for the Championships by winning five of the eight World Cup events. On the men's sit-ski side, Japanese Takeshi Suzuki and Swiss Christoph Kunz both earned three World Cup victories in the lead up to this competition. In the women's visually impaired group, Slovak Henrieta Farkasova will enter the competition with five World Cup victories. On the men's side, Spanish Jon Santacana is favored to win with three Giant Slalom and one Slalom victory during this year's World Cup events in the lead up to the World Championships.

British Combined Services Disabled Ski Team coach Mark Scorgie has noted that this year's European ski season has been problematic with weather interfering with most competitions. Poor weather conditions continued Wednesday Rogla IPC Alpine World Cup, with the first Giant Slalom run canceled because of high winds.

The World Championships includes over 270 skiers, guides, coaches and support personnel from 28 countries including Spain, France, Australia, Ukraine, Netherlands, Croatia, Finland, Switzerland, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Turkey, Belgium, Norway, Russia, Britain, Germany, Italy, Canada, Slovakia, Czech Republic, United States, Austria, New Zealand, Sweden, Hungary, and South Africa..

The Spanish team includes blind skier Jon Santacana and his guide Miguel Galindo, and blind skier Gabriel Gorce and his guide Arnau Ferrer. Both vision-impaired skiers are scheduled to compete in the Downhill, Super G, Super Combined, Giant Slalom, and Slalom competitions. Also on the Spanish team are LW2 classified standing skier Úrsula Pueyo, LW12-1 classified sit skier Óscar Espallargas, and LW10-1 classified sit skier Nathalie Carpanedo who qualified as a wildcard entry. Pueyo, Espallargas, and Carpanedo are all scheduled to compete in the Slalom and Giant Slalom competitions. Accompanying the team are to be coaches Javier Gutierrez, Jordi Carbonell, and Andres Gomez, medical staff including Pablo Marquez and Josep Barrachina, and technical staffer Josep Bort.

Jones competing in the Super G at the last year's IPC Nor-Am Cup
Image: Bidgee.

The United States team consists of Seattle, Washington-based vision-impaired skier Mark Bathum and his Colorado Springs-based guide Jessica Smith; Park City, Utah-based vision-impaired skier Danelle Umstead and guide Rob Umstead; retired Army and Clarksville, Tennessee-based Heath Calhoun; Brooklyn, New York-based Ralph Green; Colorado Springs-based Allison Jones; Palmer, Alaska-based Andrew Kurka; Burlington, Vermont-based Stephen Lawler; retired Marine and Littleton, Colorado-based Jon Lujan; Farmington, New Mexico-based Alana Nichols; Wenham, Massachusetts-based Laurie Stephens; Park City, Utah-based Stephani Victor; Franconia, New Hampshire-based Tyler Walker; and retired Coast Guard and Campton, New Hampshire-based Chris Devlin-Young.


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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.