TURIN Its been a while since Andrew Weibrecht has been to Snow Ridge Ski Resort, but this was the first time he came without skiing.
Mr. Weibrecht was the 2014 Winter Olympics Giant Slalom silver medalist.
I think I raced five or six times here when I was a kid, Mr. Weibrecht said during a meet-and-greet event April 19 at the Candlelight Restaurant at Snow Ridge. This is one of those places where people get really excited about speed racing.
In 2003, the Lake Placid native won the Oneida Silversmith Race at Snow Ridge. Mr. Weibrecht originally was scheduled to hit the Silversmith trail with local skiers, but low snow levels were enough of a concern to cancel the session.
I was looking forward to coming here and skiing a few runs, but it is the middle of April; youve got to take what you can get, the 28-year-old said. Its too bad. It would have been fun to ski with a few kids.
An Easter egg hunt also planned for the afternoon wascanceled because of muddy conditions.
I wanted to ski with him, but its OK. I get nervous, said Jacob Demko, of Turin. This winter the Lowville Academy student competed in the New York State Ski Racing Association U14 boys championships. He placed 41st out of more than 70 skiers. Fellow Snow Ridge skier Reegan Domagala had placed eighth in the U14 girls division.
Jacob was joined by more than 75 adults and children who came to offer Mr. Weibrecht their support, including Angelica LaGuardia, 10, of Turin.
Ive been watching him for a long time and I thought itd be cool to meet him, the Lowville Academy fifth-grader said.
She and her brother, Dominick, brought their speed suits and race bibs for Mr. Weibrecht to sign.
I think its just a really good thing they I got to come here, because its not a thing you can do every day, she said.
Mr. Weibrecht has been skiing since childhood. He took bronze in the Super-G at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Russia was great. They did a really good job, but it was a totally different culture, Mr. Weibrecht said, comparing the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, with his prior experience. Canada was like being at home ... people were just more inviting.
Citing his age, Mr. Weibrecht said his involvement in professional ski racing would be dependent upon his health.
Im going to do one more year theres the World Championships at Beaver Creek, and after that Ill see how my body holds up. Im getting to that age. ... If it all goes well Ill keep going, he said.
The Lake Placid native first gained attention in the 2006 FIS Alpine Ski World Cup at Beaver Creek, Colo.
He also competed in the 2009 World Championships at Val dIsere, France, before hitting the 2010 Winter Olympics.
I dont know how inspiring I am, Mr. Weibrecht said at the Turin event, but its great to be able to do these things and bring it back to the next generation, the next group of kids coming up.