San Diego

Paralympic Ski Team Wraps Up Week of Diverse Training in San Diego

Members of the Para Alpine Ski Team rock climb to become better athletes

Nearly two dozen athletes and coaches with Team USA's Paralympic Ski Team wrapped up a week long training session in San Diego by conquering the huge wall inside the Mission Valley Mesa Rim Rock Climbing Center.

The skiiers, hoping to make the 2018 Paralympic Team in Pyeongchang, South Korea, also surfed and took part in a ropes course, all in the quest to become more well-rounded athletes.

"In Ski Racing, you've got to be prepared for anything, the more varied and crazy the work-out, the better," said Tyler Walker, a three-time Paralympian who uses an adapative mono-ski as a replacement for his missing legs.

Without the use of their legs, Walker and many of his teammates relied primarily on arm, hand, and finger strength to climb the center's main wall, several stories high.

Other Paralympians on the team, like three-time medalist Danelle Umstead, are blind, and had occasional help from coaches and teammates below to navigate the wall and its small steps.

You'd think Umstead, who flies down snowy mountains relying soley on the directions from a guide in front of her, wouldn't be afraid of anything, but the climbing wall rattled her nerves.

"Because of my fear of heights" said Umstead. "blind climbing is a little hard".

The opening ceremony of the Paralympics is March 9th, 2018, less than two weeks after the close of the Winter Olympics.

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