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ALPINE SKIING

Palmer’s Andrew Kurka picks up a North American championship in his final race of the season

by | Apr 13, 2024 | Alpine Skiing, Cover Story

Palmer’s Andrew Kurka ended the season on a winning note this week when he captured the giant slalom title at the North American para-alpine championships in Winter Park, Colorado.

Kurka, still one of the world’s top sit-skiers at age 32, won both GS runs Wednesday to breeze to the gold medal.

His two-run total time of 2 minutes, 2.63 seconds put him more than three seconds ahead of the runnerup.

It was the perfect end to a season that included a huge victory January in Cortina, Italy, on the same slope where the 2026 Winter Paralympics downhill race will be held. The win was Kurka’s first since he suffered devastating injuries at the 2022 Paralympics in Beijing.

Kurka is a three-time Paralympian who won downhill gold and super-G silver at the 2018 Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Four years later he was a favorite going into Beijing. Sports Illustrated even put him on the cover of its Paralympic preview edition.

But on the day of his first race – the downhill, his best event – he crashed while training on an adjacent hill one hour before his race.

Kurka broke his arm but raced anyway, recording an astonishing fourth-place finish. But the broken arm plus serious injuries to a shoulder and a thumb kept him out of other races in Beijing.

This year’s victories in Cortina and Winter Park should set him up well for next season.

“It’s been a good year,” Kurka said on social media. “Looking forward to next year!”

Story made possible by:

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Family of Sponsors

Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

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