Special Olympics Return to Waterville Valley for the First Time Since 2020

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Paula Tracy photo

Alicia Crawford and Janice Knepp won medals for their slalom skiing at the 2023 Special Olympics winter games that returned to Waterville Valley this week.


WATERVILLE VALLEY – Janice Knepp and Alicia Crawford are the best of friends.

For them, nothing is better than being able to compete together and hang out with friends at the Special Olympics.

COVID-19 protocols limited that in recent years but this week, the two are roommates in a condo at Waterville Valley, competing, again for the first time there since 2020.

Both Knepp and Crawford are competing for the alpine events at the resort and both earned medals for their time on the slalom course Monday, the first real day of competition.

Tomorrow they will compete in Giant Slalom and Super G events at the mountain. At the same time, other Special Olympics athletes will take to the courses set up in the village in the disciplines of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Hundreds of athletes, their families, volunteers, and law enforcement officials from around the state are back together again for the 2023 winter games and Monday night, the highlight for many like Knepp and Crawford is the dinner and dance in the base lodge.

The theme for the dance was “Party Like it’s 1999.”
The events are sponsored by Eversource with donations given not only by other corporations but individuals who participate in a number of fundraisers including ones that involve plunging into the cold waters in winter months.

Shelby Cote, vice president for special promotions at Special Olympics of New Hampshire was not immediately available for comment, Monday.

The valley, which had seen three successive snowfalls last week, including Friday night into Saturday which left more than 10 inches of snow on the trails, was in perfect shape for the event, with cerulean blue skies, a stiff wind at times but no one doubted that winter was the season.

For 50 years, Special Olympics of New Hampshire has been able to provide year-round sports competitions statewide for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

The event draws hundreds of volunteers and the awards ceremonies feature law enforcement officials – from State Police and Marine Patrol to local departments across New Hampshire who present the medal awards.

It is estimated that there are 40,000 residents of New Hampshire with intellectual disabilities.
The goal of the Winter Olympics, along with the Summer Olympics is to help those individuals develop courage, and friendships, experience joy and share that with their families who are often able to come as well.
The competition concludes on Tuesday with events both on the hill and in the valley. For more information, visit https://www.sonh.org/

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