Hall of Fame Class of 2009
Sarah Will successfully transferred her love for skiing as an able-bodied athlete into a passion and talent for adaptive skiing to become the most decorated athlete on the U.S. Adaptive Ski Team. Her career total for medals over four Paralympic Games is thirteen, twelve of which are gold.
As a youngster growing up at Pico in Vermont and later racing at Green Mountain Academy, Sarah Will had ski racing in her blood. She moved to Aspen to live her skiing dream. In 1988 she caught some powder in a cat track causing her to crash hard and left her paralyzed from the waist down. During her rehabilitation she came across Hall of Famer’s Hal O’Leary’s book on adaptive skiing and went to Winter Park’s National Center for the Disabled. Within a year she was on a monoski and by 1992 she competed at the winter Paralympics. She surprised herself and the rest of the world with two gold medals. Her competitive career success would end in 2002 when she retired after sweeping the gold medals in Salt Lake City.
Will and her teammates were pioneers developing their own technology and adapting to the challenges facing them. Not only do they have to manage their own body weight on the ski slope, but also that of a fifty-pound sled while achieving speeds comparable to skiing downhill on two skis.
Sarah Will has also spent her career helping others. She worked with Chris Waddell on an introductory program form mono ski racers and continues to run that program at Vail. Her success has been recognized with induction into the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum and Hall of Fame and most recently into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
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