WHITEFISH — More than 50 Special Olympic athletes showcased their skills on Tuesday during the Glacier Area Winter Games in the Flathead.
It was an action-packed day at Whitefish Mountain Resort as athletes from across the Flathead Valley competed in the event. The athletes raced down a giant slalom course ranging anywhere from novice to intermediate and advanced in skill level.
Special Olympics athletes trained with DREAM Adaptive -- a non-profit organization helping persons with disabilities safely recreate outside -- prior to the games.
DREAM Adaptive Program Manager Maddy Westbrook says athletes trained with DREAM Adaptive for six straight weeks.
“We had a couple hiatuses, that cold snap that came through and president’s week and things like that, but for the most part weekly,” Westbrook told MTN News.
Special Olympics athlete Ann Trout said there’s nothing quite like the rush she gets from racing down the hill.
“It gets you going, it makes you go. It’s like come on you can do it. And with my volunteer through DREAM, she’s really taught me a lot,” Trout said. “And if it wouldn’t have been for her, I probably wouldn’t be up here skiing.”
Special Olympics Athlete Carey Stroup has been racing in ski events for 20 years, it’s one of his favorite activities on the planet.
“It feels good in the heart, it does. I don’t care what place I get or nothing like that. I just go out there and have fun and everything,” Stroup said.
Westbrook told MTN News that there’s nothing better than seeing her Special Olympic teammates reach their goals.
“It’s so much fun to see them improve weekly and be able to come through the courses,” Westbrook said. “It makes me happy to see our participants have fun and also our volunteers. Just makes my heart really, really happy.”
Special Olympic officials hope the event will continue to grow in size for the years to come.