Alpine skier hits slopes at national games

Michael Langridge admits he wasn't a shining student in elementary school.

Michael Langridge admits he wasn’t a shining student in elementary school.

Growing up in Vancouver, Langridge would often get into trouble. He would argue with the teacher, end up in the principal’s office and get sent home day after day.

But the trouble he’d get himself into stopped when his mother suggested he try skiing in the ’80s. He fell in love with the sport instantly, heading up to the mountain as often as he could to ski with his brother. Shortly after, he joined the Special Olympic program.

“It’s being on the slopes and enjoying the view. I grew out of that (the trouble) when I went to the Special Olympics because they don’t take that from anybody,” said Langridge, adding he signed an athletes code of conduct saying he would act respectfully. “I just love to ski.”

Now, several decades later and after moving from the Mainland to the Island this year, the 35-year-old is taking his skiing abilities to the next level with competitive alpine skiing. Langridge is the only alpine skier from Vancouver Island who will be competing in the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games this week.

“I was shocked and surprised because not everybody gets a chance to go,” said Langridge, who makes the roughly three-hour drive to practice at Mount Washington. “I just love going fast.”

He made Team B.C. after winning three gold medals in super G, slalom and giant slalom during last year’s Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in Kamloops.

Most recently, he also participated in a training camp in Kamloops in November.

Now, he’s getting set to make his first appearance at a national sporting event.

Langridge’s alpine ski training coach Anne-Marie Sutherland said he’s motivated and willing to do whatever it takes to improve his skills.

“He’s very engaged. His motivation in actually doing whatever he needs to do in training has amped up, he’s very focused,” she said, adding she expects Langridge will do well in the novice category. “I think he’s going to do so well that he’s going to be bumped up to the intermediate category quite quickly.”

Heading into the Games, Langridge has been working out at the gym and doing circuit training at local tracks, getting ready to compete in the super G, slalom and giant slalom races.

“I just want to get the best time as possible,” he said.

Victoria snowshoer Terri Carelius and coach Kim McArthur will also be competing in the Games.

The Special Olympics Canada Winter Games takes place in Corner Brook, Newfoundland from March. 1 to 5.