NC Winter Special Olympics
by Jeff Eason
If you are a fan of the North Carolina Special Olympics Winter Games, you get to enjoy the competitive alpine events every year.
The 2014 Special Olympics North Carolina Winter Games, including alpine skiing and snowboarding will be held on Sunday and Monday, Jan. 5-6, at Appalachian Ski Mountain in Blowing Rock. The opening ceremonies for the 36th annual event, including the ceremonial lighting of the giant torch, will take place at the base of the slopes beginning at 1:45 p.m.
"We started the Special Olympics Winter Games here in 1978, and we've hosted it every year since then," said Jim Cottrell, director of Appalachian Ski Mountain's French-Swiss Ski College.
The regional competition of the Special Olympics Winter Games will include skiers and snowboarders from North Carolina and Virginia. The Southeastern finals of the Winter Games will take place in February at Appalachian Ski Mountain and will include competitors from all over the Southeast.
More than 130 competitors from 23 local programs will take part in the skiing and snowboarding competitions and other events, such as a dinner and dance at the Meadowbrook Inn in Blowing Rock on Sunday evening and the awards presentation at Appalachian Ski Mountain's upstairs lodge on Monday afternoon.
During the dinner at Meadowbrook Inn, Special Olympics North Carolina will present the 2013 Special Olympics N.C. Athlete of the Year Award.
Athletes will be on the slopes on Sunday for instruction and practice runs from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The alpine skiing and snowboarding competition will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, followed by the awards ceremony.
This year, athletes from the following counties and agencies will compete: Alamance, Avery, Beaufort/Hyde, Buncombe, Cabarrus, Cleveland, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Gaston, Guilford/Greensboro, Guilford/High Point, Iredell, J. Iverson Riddle Development Center, Johnston, Jones, Lake Norman, Lee, Mecklenburg, Orange, Pasquotank/Camden, Wake and Watauga.
Special Olympics Virginia will also have a delegation participating in the games.
All competition events are free and open to the public.
Special Olympics North Carolina offers year-round sports training and competition for more than 38,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
SONC offers Olympic-type competition in 19 sports on local and state levels.
For more information, visit http://www.specialolympicsnc.com.