Shilts, Roisland take gold for the second year in a row at Special Olympics Unified event |

Shilts, Roisland take gold for the second year in a row at Special Olympics Unified event

Fans watch the Special Olympics Unified races at X Games from the base of big air on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, at Buttermilk Ski Area in Aspen. (Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times)
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Snow started coming down as Special Olympic athlete Daina Shilts secured her third-straight Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding gold medal — her second gold with partner Mons Roisland, who will also compete in snowboard slopestyle on Sunday.

“It was amazing,” Shilts said at the bottom of the course after winning. “To have gold with him a second time is so cool.”

She and Roisland had the lead after the first round, clocking 29.506 seconds as their combined time. They were able to cut their combined time down by just under a second, securing the gold medal in 29.405.

Catherine Darrow and Elizabeth Hosking finished second, with a combined time of 30.246. Henry Meece and Aspen local Chris Klug, himself an Olympic snowboarder, finished in third, just .001 seconds behind Darrow and Hosking.

For the Special Olympics Unified Skiing and Snowboarding, teams are comprised of one professional action sports athlete and one Special Olympics action sport athlete. Each team member takes one run on each of two competition courses, with professional athletes racing against one another and Special Olympics athletes racing one another. Results are determined using the combined best times of each team. There were six 2-person teams for both skiing and snowboarding.

Special Olympics Unified Skiing

On the skiing side of the competition, Basalt’s Hanna Faulhaber and her partner Haldan Pranger took first place with a combined time of 26.305.

“Third time’s the charm for sure,” Pranger said after the race.

Faulhaber, a halfpipe skier, said she couldn’t have done it without the pointers she got from him.

“It’s all him,” she said.

They took their lead in the first round and were able to maintain it in the second round to secure the gold medal.

Luca Vernano and Nico Porteous took silver with a combined time of 17.020, and Tanner Jadwin and David Wise took home the bronze.

Yung Gravy, who will be performing at 7 p.m. on Saturday, competed in the Special Olympics with Oceane Gendre. Gravy is the first X Games artist to compete in the Special Olympics Unified Skiing event. Even though the team finished last, there was no shortage of smiles when they were done.

“I didn’t even know I was competing until about an hour ago,” he said after his first lap.

Palmer Lyons, who took home the gold last year, partnered up with X Games co-host Victoria Arlen, and together they got fourth place, with a combined time of 29.161.

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