Sport: Alpine Skiing
In 2000, Danelle Umstead's father Peter D'Aquanni first introduced her to adaptive skiing in their home state of New Mexico. Umstead fell in love with the sport right away. She says, "Even though I need a guide to ski, I get to be outdoors, I feel a sense of freedom, excitement, and it is exhilarating the more and more I do it."
Umstead met her husband, Rob, while she was skiing in Taos, N.M. After he landed a job in Park City, Utah and the couple moved, Umstead struggled to find a consistent guide until Rob took the job in 2008, and he is now her full-time guide. The husband and wife duo also founded team Vision4Gold. Umstead believes “Vision is to have sight, an idea, or a dream."
Umstead has an eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa and early onset macular degeneration meaning she has no central vision and is losing her peripheral vision. In 2010, Danelle was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Danelle continues to train and compete at a World Class level and with the help of her husband, Rob, the two have compiled an impressive record.
Competing in the sport of alpine skiing, Danelle has represented Team USA at the 2010 and 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, winning three medals. Danelle was a three-time medalist at this year’s World Championships. She is a three-time Women’s World Cup Overall Champion, and has 48 career World Cup podiums.
The Umstead’s are proud parents of their son, Brocton. When they are not racing, they enjoy hiking, tandem cycling, and spending time with family and friends. In her free time Umstead helps mentor junior disabled athletes by sharing her story and offering encouragement.
For more information about Danelle’s accomplishments, visit Team USA’s website or www.Vision4Gold.com.
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Photo by Joe Kusumoto