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North Salem Athlete Defies the Slopes

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - Lexie Jordan, a 13-year-old North Salem resident, is in Breckenridge, Colorado at the moment, attending the National Race Festival at the Hartford Ski Spectacular.

Lexie started skiing when she was five but, she said, “I got serious about it when I was nine.” Before that, she had tried out many different sports, “everything from cheerleading to horseback riding.”

Oh, and by the way, Lexie is legally blind due to albinism. She is a member of the Thunder Ridge Race Team and the U. S. Association of Blind Athletes (USABA). Her goal is to compete in the NorAm Races, the Diana Golden series and eventually the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, Russia . Diana Golden was an American Paralympic Gold Medal winner who lost a leg at the age of 12.

Like Diana Golden, Lexie’s concentration is the slalom and the grand slalom. She loves “the rush of going on the mountain. People are looking at you wearing your bib. People think you’ll be terrible and you’ll crash.” And then you surprise them.

Lexie was awarded a scholarship to attend the Colorado event. The participants receive personal training and critiques from some of the sport’s leading coaches. They learn advanced techniques, race tactics and ski preparation and they get video analyses.

Lexie’s younger brother, 12-year-old Liam, is her guide. He follows the course one or one and a half gates ahead of her. He used to yell commands and tap his poles to indicate ice, one tap, dip or mogul, two taps, and stop, three taps. Now they have an electronic communication device. It makes things a little easier.

Liam is said to be the youngest guide on the slopes. At the moment he is too young to be a recognized guide at the 2014 Paralympics but he will reach the proper age by then.

How did Lexie become so interested in skiing? “Well, I used to go horseback riding but then I switched.” Why did she switch? “My riding teacher broke her leg, skiing.”

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