Juneau’s Joe Tompkins has finished his United States Paralympics Team competitions for the season with a solid performance at the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing National Championships and the NORAM on Aspen, Colorado’s Buttermilk Mountain.
“I am very surprised and happy with the season,” Tompkins said. “Especially since I had taken so long off of skiing and racing.”
Considering Tompkins took more than 21 months away from the sport, his finishes were spectacular.
Considered the final Alpine Skiing event for many of the Untied States skiers the nationals and NorAm event is a chance to top off the World Cup season.
Tompkins finished second on Tuesday in the Men Downhill Training Sitting run with a 1:17.30. USA’s Tyler Walker was first in 1:16.98 and Mexico’s Arly Velasquez was third in 1:18.60.
In the next run, the Men Downhill Sitting, Tompkins again placed second with a 1:16.58; Walker was first in 1:16.31; USA’s Andrew Earl Kurka third in 1:16.94 and Velasquez was fourth in 1:17.03. Complete results of all competitors can be found at the US Paralympics team website www.ipc-alpineskiing.org.
On Wednesday Tompkins attacked the Super G course in hopes of topping his season best time. Starting in the seventh position Tompkins had to battle some pre-cut paths on the course and crashed in his first run and finished sixth in his second run with a time of 1:07.71.
USA’s Walker was first in 1:01.10, Christopher Devlin-Young was second (USA, 1:03.93), Erik Bayindirli third (TUR, 1:04.23), Velasquez fourth (MEX, 1:04.73), Kurt Oatway fifth (CAN, 1:06.41).
“It is baseball season now,” Tompkins, a volunteer coach with the Thunder Mountain boy’s baseball team said. “Plus I can still ski a week at Eaglecrest before it closes.”
The USA team still wants Tompkins to compete on their Giant Slalom team but funding and time constraints for travel to European competitions make that option difficult at present.
Currently Tompkins next races are scheduled for December. There is also the possibility he may have training during the summer at Mt. Hood in Oregon or September training in Chile.
When asked if he can improve his times and rankings without the same training advantage many of the USA team receives Tompkins stated, “I always try to go fast. It is more about making the turns at that speed.”