One more race in the two-time Winter Olympics host city of St. Moritz, Switzerland and then Logan Leach can come home for Christmas to Lumby, which has never hosted a Winter Olympics.
The disabled skier who suffers from Stargardt Disease – a rare genetic eye disease – is wrapping up the first half of his rookie season on the World Para Alpine Skiing’s World Cup tour where he’s hoping to earn enough recognition and points to land a spot on Canada’s Para Alpine Skiing team that will compete at the 2022 Paralympics in Beijing March 4-13.
Wouldn’t that be a great present?
“I’m trying to qualify by Christmas,” said Leach, 19, in November from Panorama Resort near Invermere, where he and his ski guide, Julien Petit of Bromont, Que., were competing in Nor-Am events looking to qualify for the World Cup, which they did.
In St. Moritz – Winter Olympics hosts in 1928 and 1948 – Monday, Dec. 20, Leach and Petit were fifth in the Men’s Vision Impaired Slalom race with a two-run combined time of 1 minute 35.22 seconds, more than 15 seconds back of the winner, Johannes Aigner of Austria.
The day before, Leach was sixth in the third giant slalom race after previous finishes of seventh and sixth in the discipline.
To qualify for the World Cup races, Leach and Petit were third in the men’s slalom at Panorama, second in the super giant slalom and fourth in the giant slalom.
The duo’s first stop in Europe was at Steinach am Brenner in Austria, where Leach/Petit finished ninth in both Super G events, and sixth in the giant slalom.
Races in Pitztal, Austria were cancelled.
The World Cup will resume after the Christmas break in January.
For Leach and Petit, it’s their third season working together.
“It’s definitely ‘We,’ as in we are a team,” said Petit, a former ski racer and bike mechanic by trade who moved west to be Leach’s guide. “Logan is learning a lot and there’s a lot of stuff I can do better to help us out.”
A former hockey player, Leach began alpine skiing in 2010 shortly after his Stargardt diagnosis and began working out with the SilverStar Adaptive Snow Sports club in Vernon.
He won a silver medal at his first major competition, the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, in 2019.
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