Duce Podiums at First World Cup
by Samantha Wright
Mar 14, 2013 | 1262 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ON THE PODIUM – Ouray’s Heidi Duce (right) celebrated with her teammates following a World Cup even in Slovenia last weekend. (Courtesy photo)
ON THE PODIUM – Ouray’s Heidi Duce (right) celebrated with her teammates following a World Cup even in Slovenia last weekend. (Courtesy photo)

OURAY – Fans were high-fiving in the street this week as they learned that Ouray native shredder Heidi Duce took third place in her first ever international World Cup event in adaptive snowboarding.

Duce, who hopes to earn a berth at Sochi, Russia next year on the U.S. Women’s Paralympic Boardercross Team, made the long trip to Slovenia last weekend to compete alongside other riders representing the United States.

Joining her on the podium was fellow American Amy Purdy, who snagged second place in the competition. U.S. men also swept the lower-limb amputee men's podium.

“It was a great weekend!” Duce said.

The competition in Slovenia offered an “awesome, very technical” course with lots of jumps and obstacles – Duce’s favorite kind. “I really like things that are challenging and intimidating,” said the 22-year-old below-the-knee amputee who kayaks when she’s not riding. “It really pushes me to the extent of my limits.”

Duce was one of only three females from the U.S. who were invited to compete in Slovenia.

On March 26, she heads to Canada to compete in another World Cup event. Every time she podiums, it helps her earn more points to make the U.S. Paralympic Boardercross Team.

“It’s a pretty big deal that I get to go to these two World Cups,” she said.

Duce has been training full time since December with the Copper Mountain-based Adaptive Action Sports Boardercross (AASB) team. She has shredded her way through various high-level competitions all winter. Duce will need to be ranked as one of the top three females in the country in order to earn a berth in Sochi.

Things are looking good so far. For her winning ways, Duce is currently ranked third overall (in the world) and second in the U.S. behind Bibian Mentel of the Netherlands and AASB team captain Amy Purdy, a double below-the-knee amputee and the USA’s top female para-snowboarder.

People who know the feisty, athletic Duce are not at all surprised she is doing so well in the sport. But Duce herself never dreamed she’d come so far so fast.

“If you had talked to me in November, I would never have thought I would be internationally ranked,” she said. “It’s crazy; I feel my entire life has been picked up.”

Right on the heels of the World Cup Event in Canada, Duce competes at the U.S. Nationals hosted by Copper Mountain on April 4. This is the last qualifier for adaptive athletes hoping to make the U.S. team. “Those of us who make it will be a part of history as the first Paralympic U.S. snowboarding team ever,” Duce said.

USAA Nationals (for nonadaptive athletes with all limbs intact) will be held at Copper on the same day. “We will be racing right alongside the best Boardercross professionals in country,” Duce said. “It will be a very competitive vibe on the mountain that day.”

If Duce makes the U.S. team (and she is pretty sure she will) she’ll have to continue to do well in competitions next season to keep her ranking and earn a berth at Sochi. “I have to work to keep my spot,” she said. “It’s a full time job that I don’t get paid for. But I love it; I wouldn’t trade what I am doing for anything.” 

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