by Tracy Ross

Excerpt; full article can be read in the 2017-2018 Town + Mountain Magazine which can be viewed online here: Town + Mountain.

The 2018 Olympics and Paralympics in Pyoengchang are - in Olympic training terms - right around the corner and Summit County has a long tradition of sending both locals and out-of-state athletes who train here to the Games. In 1969, Vietnam vet Jack Benedict learned to ski at Arapahoe Basin before winning a silver medal in the alpine combined in the 1984 Paralympics in Innsbruck, Austria. In 1984, Breckenridge skier Pat Ahern took bronze in the Nordic combined in Sarajevo. And since 2000, more Summit County skiers and snowboarders have fought their way to the right to bite a circle of precious metal.

Today is no different, with dozens of winter athletes living and training in Summit on their way to a chance at the Pyoengchang Games. They're skiers and snowboarders, both Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls. The current contenders are logging hours at Frisco's Low Oxygen Crossfit gym, stack up rotations in Woodward Copper's Barn and ripping trenches on Copper Mountain's upper mountain. Their end goal, of course, is to make the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. These are the athletes and visionaries behind Summit County's Olympic pulse.


The Repeat Contender, Kim Lamarre

With her heavy Quebecquois accent, 29-year-old Kim Lamarre doesn't sound like a Summit County local. And she isn't: She lives in the French-speaking city in Canada. But she spends enough time training in the Woodward Copper Barn and Copper Mountain's terrain parks that she can claim partial residency. She won Canada's first ever bronze medal in the women's slopestyle event at the 2014 Winter Olympics. She said of that experience, "[It was] surreal. I have no words to describe this feeling. I knew it was possible but I didn't put it as my main goal." She left out the part about how high the odds were stacked against her. 

Torn ACLs in 2012 and 2013 had resulted in her losing her spot on the Canadian Snowboard Team. But rehab plus a rigorous training schedule-including six to eight weeks at Copper Mountain-put her back in contention. She made the Canadian team in 2014. But winning a medal? "It was a fairy tale I dreamed about while lying in my bed doing rehab," she says. 

Lamarre started riding terrain parks at 13, and making pilgrimages to Copper Mountain. She says, "I had no coach, and I needed to learn more jumping skills," so she started practicing in the Woodward Copper Barn. "They have incredibly high-level coaches and staff there, so I can ask for tips and they'll have great ones for me to work on." She's trying to master a Bio 720 (two 360-degree rotations with a forward flip), and gunning for Pyoengchang in 2018. She's back in Quebec City now, but she'll return to her "winter home" of Copper Mountain in mid-October. She'll continue mastering new tricks with the assistance of Woodward Copper's coaches and staff. And she'll dream of scoring another medal-minus the drama that preceded her last.

Learn more about the Woodward Copper Barn and Woodward Copper Summer Camp here:

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