Down Hill skier Michael Thompson competing in the 1996 Arctic Winter Games
Photo By Charlotte Nicolet
Excitement about the Arctic Winter Games sparks unexpected conversations in unexpected places. Take for instance an innocent ride to the hospital in a TransCare hospital shuttle bus, and who should be driving but Michael Thompson, a former down-hill ski-racer who participated in the Arctic Winter Games held in Eagle River, Alaska in 1996.
“I won two silvers and one bronze in the downhill ski racing competition held at Alpen Glow, formerly known as Arctic Valley,” said Thompson. He garnered one silver in the Giant Slalom, another in the Slalom, and a bronze in the Super G.
“I was sixteen then. Two years later I blew out my shoulder, or I would have continued. But when you get injured that young, you fall behind real fast with everyone racing in that age group,” explained Thompson. “There’s no way to make the time up, and in downhill ski racing you can lose by 100th of a second,” he said.
When asked how he blew out his shoulder, “I was free-skiing and extreme cliff jumping,” was his answer. “After surgery I just couldn’t get back into it,” Thompson lamented.
Besides working for TransCare, Thompson is currently a paramedic student at the Medical Training Institute in Anchorage. He expects to get his paramedic certificate in three months. When asked what he’d say to young ski racers in this year’s competition: “Have fun! Enjoy it and don’t stress out too much,” said Thompson.
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