Walsh 3rd in opening event of 2019 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships
Vail native Thomas Walsh is off to an impressive start at the 2019 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships, which got underway Monday in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia.
The iconic giant slalom venue hosted sitting and standing categories of giant slalom on Monday in the first day of competition, as well as the vision impaired class.
Walsh, who was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer in 2009, competes in the standing category of Para Alpine Skiing.
Walsh finished third in the GS on Monday; Arthur Bauchet of France won and Theo Gmur of Switzerland took second.
“I love this race,” Bauchet said. “It was my first gold medal at the World Championships two years ago and then it was just ‘wow’ because I came and I won gold, and here to start with a gold medal, this is so amazing.”
The World Para Alpine Skiing Championships take place every two years, much like the Alpine World Ski Championships.
Walsh finished third overall in the GS World Cup standings last season, and took fifth in slalom at the Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“I was pretty blessed to be pretty consistent with my skiing,” Walsh told the Vail Daily in April.
Walsh went on to train in California, South America and Europe over the summer, and returned to the Para Alpine Skiing World Cup strong this season, taking second in a pair of slalom races in Jan. 16-17 in Zagreb, Croatia.
“Hopefully one day I’ll be able to get a Paralympic medal,” he told the Vail Daily.
With a World Championship medal now in his collection, Walsh may indeed be one step closer to that goal.
Walsh has been a member of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail since he was 5 years old, actively participating in Alpine and Nordic skiing. While he is now enjoying his fourth season on the U.S. Paralympics Alpine National Team, he still credits Ski & Snowboard Club Vail with much of his development.
“They support me and help me train, as well,” he said.
The 2019 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships continues on Tuesday with the women’s giant slalom.
You can watch the World Championships live on World Para Alpine Skiing’s website and Facebook page, where live results will also be available.