Paralympics aim for ski-racer

A participant pulls off a backflip at last year's Svend It Day fundraiser at the Remarkables in...
A participant pulls off a backflip at last year's Svend It Day fundraiser at the Remarkables in Queenstown. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
American adaptive ski-racer Patrick Halgren dreams of winning a gold medal at the 2022 Winter Paralympics in China.

Halgren is raising money to join the US Paralympic team this winter with the return of `Svend It Day' at the Remarkables on Saturday, a fundraising event in memory of his twin brother Lucas "Sven" Halgren, who died in a motorbike crash near Mount Cook in 2016.

Brightly-dressed revellers will get the chance to "Svend it" off a jump on to an airbag while pulling off their best tricks, which will be judged by Halgren, who has worked at the Queenstown skifield for three years.

He said the event has a "great atmosphere to celebrate a great man who used to be the Remarkables' very own `best skier on the mountain"'.

Adaptive ski-racer Patrick Halgren, of Queenstown.
Adaptive ski-racer Patrick Halgren, of Queenstown.
Halgren said he was "on the right track to make it to the next Games in 2022" but his goal was to "be competitive and take home a gold medal".

"A gold medal will be mine, oh yes, it will be mine."

The 26-year-old lost his leg and suffered multiple serious injuries in a life-changing motorbike accident in 2013.

His brother, who used to work with disabled skiers, was the one who pushed him to start skiing after the crash.

Halgren continues to raise money to fund his Paralympic dream after the inaugural Svend It Day fundraiser last year.

He will have to cover all travel and race costs, as well as the cost of International Ski Federation approved equipment.

"I was hoping to make it to the 2018 competitions which took place last northern hemisphere winter," he said.

"I qualified in two events but sadly I wasn't selected as one of the US national team members.

"It's easy to know how to ski good but another thing to go out and do it.

"This takes many many hours of skiing and training repeatedly."

He added his biggest challenge over the next four years would be staying healthy and "pushing the limits of how fast one leg can go".

Money will be raised through raffle draws, tickets for each jump and food sold at the event.

Last year's event raised $3500.

Svend It Day will be held from 10am-2pm.

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