BIG SKY — The Special Olympics Montana Big Sky Area Winter Games were held on Monday. Athletes from the area braved the weather to compete in the 10th annual event.
Snowboarders, skiers, cross country skiers, and snow-shoers of all ages showed off their skills in the best conditions possible: a powder day.
Competition director Sean Fitzgerald said it doesn’t matter the weather, it is all about the athletes.
“It’s obviously all about the athletes,” he said. “We had 85 athletes come up here. It’s all about the smiles. It really is just an amazing competition, so it’s just great to see everyone having a great time. … All of these athletes have a heart of gold and to see them to be able to enjoy such a great day on the mountain is just amazing, so it is all about them.”
So what were some of the athletes’ favorite parts of the Special Olympics?
“Just coming out here with your friends and hanging out with friends and just competing,” snowboarder Jalee Foley said.
Skier Amy Wittman enjoyed the friendship: “Just seeing people, seeing new people.”
“I get to do skiing and snow skiing,” skier Payton Fulton said. “It’s really fun.”
And it’s easy to be inspired by these athletes’ positive attitudes.
“I had a lot of bad falls, but other than that, you just fall and get back up and go again,” Foley said.
“To be honest with you, I’m mainly here just for the fun and just doing my best,” skier Jeremy Brooks said. “I don’t pay any attention to the times. No matter what place anybody comes in, we will always be winners, no matter what.”