By Dan Walton
It wasnt until one week before the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi that ski guide Nick Brush from Panorama found out he would be part of the world-class competition.
Nick retired as a ski guide after barely missing the podium four years ago, leading visually impaired skier Chris Williamson to two fourth place and two sixth place finishes at the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Vancouver .
But when the team underwent a lineup shuffle just one week before the games, Chris found himself without a guide.
Thankfully, Nick was able to come out of retirement just in time. He was rushed to Sochi and the pair had onlyfour days of training to get re-acquainted before racing and winning bronze.
Chris earned third place on Thursday, March 13th in the mens visually impaired slalom event,
registering a two-run total time of 1:48.61.
Its so cool and such a great experience to be able to come to the Paralympics again and race with him, and to win a medal makes me even happier, said Nick, who was raised at Panorama and has been a life-long skier.
And their bronze-medal win was Chriss first race of the season, as the 41-year-old had just recovered from an injury.
Its a monkey off our backs from 2010, Chris said. Were a successful duo, and its nice to be able to prove that again.
Chris was guided by Nick through his final competition, as Chris decided that Sochi would be the finale of his 16-year athletic career.While Nick still has a lot of gas left in the sports tank, he wasnt the only guide at the Paralympic Games who spends time in the valley.
Phil Wood from Canmore works seasonally at Nipika Mountain Resort and led para-nordic skier Robbi Weldon.
I use a micro phone in a waist belt to help her hear my directions and give her technique pointers and keep her motivated, Phil said. Skiing as a team when done well can add 10 to 15 per cent
improvement in a single performance.
Robbi is a year-round professional athlete, and competed in road cycling during the 2012 London Paralympic Games.
The games in Sochi was their first time competing together, but because they both have experience with skiing and cycling, they had little trouble synchronizing.
Similar to pace lining in a bike race, if I can ski close enough to Robbi to provide a wind relief for her as well as making it easier for her to see me yet not getting too close to her or pushing her above her abilities, then she can have the fastest race possible.
Phil said that he and Robbi had no problem adjusting their speed to the slopes and varying weather conditions in