Thieves don’t steal disabled skiers’ thunder
One night last week thieves broke into the team’s van, which was parked outside a Frisco motel, and stole $10,000 worth of gear, most of which was tuning equipment, though skis and clothing were also taken, the team’s coaches say.
With plans to fly later this week to World Cup races in Austria, the team was in a jam until Vail Resorts wrote a $3,500 check to replace the most crucial equipment.
“We would’ve made do, but it would’ve been hard,” says Alan Bender, the team’s head coach. “This helps us out. This makes it happen.”
The thieves took tuning benches, files, coaches’ skis, an athlete’s skis and clothing, among other equipment, says Sandy Metzger, the team’s program manager.
The team had recently been training on Vail Mountain.
“They were caught at bad time, they were ready to go to Europe and compete,” says Matt Sugar, director of community relations for Vail Resorts. “We think this team is an important institution.”
The team’s van was parked at the Best Western Lake Dillon Lodge Jan. 15 and loaded with tuning equipment in preparation for a race the following morning. Some time that night, thieves broke into the van and stole the gear.
Despite the theft, the team raced at Breckenridge Thursday.
Thefts of ski equipment can be difficult to solve, but Frisco Police Officer Larry Waetjen says he’d like to close this case.
“I’d definitely like to have any leads anyone might have,” Waetjen said. “I’ll definitely be following up on this one.”
Metzger says the ski company’s gift improves the team’s chances in Austria.
“It’s incredible. Vail Resorts stepped up and gave us a check enabling us to buy equipment to go to Europe and be successful on the World Cup Tour,” she says. “It turned a really bad situation around and made it a great day for it us.”
Bender says the team has gotten a lot of help from others in the Vail Valley. During their recent training in Vail, Bender says, the Cascade Club helped out with affordable places to say and Ski Club Vail helped get the team free time on the mountain.
The Golden Peak Ski School and Adaptive School also gave the team a lot of assistance, Bender says.
The ski company and the community have been strong supporters of the Disabled Ski Team this season, he adds.
“It’s been really, really awesome with Vail all year,” he says. “They’ve been strong supporters of the disabled team all year and this just kind of floors me – it’s amazing.”
Metzger said she hopes people will keep an eye open for the team’s logo or “anyone that suddenly shows up with new tuning benches.”
Metzger can be reached at (970) 453-7532. Anyone with information can also contact the Frisco Police Department at (970) 668-3579.
The racers won’t let the theft distract them in Austria, Metzger adds.
“We’re all feeling confident,” she says. “We’re not going to let this little setback affect us at all.”
Summit Daily News reporter Reid Williams contributed to this report.