Lumby Para-Alpine skier Logan Leach (right, with guide Caele Kassa of Vernon) is a finalist for the Athlete with a Disability Award that will be presented virtually Thursday, March 25, at the 54th annual Sport BC Athlete of the Year Awards. (Facebook photo)

Lumby Para-Alpine skier Logan Leach (right, with guide Caele Kassa of Vernon) is a finalist for the Athlete with a Disability Award that will be presented virtually Thursday, March 25, at the 54th annual Sport BC Athlete of the Year Awards. (Facebook photo)

North Okanagan skier up for provincial honour

Visually impaired Logan Leach up for Athlete with a Disability at 54th annual Sport BC Athlete of the Year Awards to be presented Thursday

A Lumby skier has shown the province you can still be great on the slopes even if you have trouble seeing.

Logan Leach is a finalist for Athlete with a Disability for Sport BC’s 54th annual Athlete of the Year Awards which will be presented virtually Thursday, March 25.

The event is a pre-taped show hosted by CBC’s Scott Russell and will recognize the province’s best in amateur sport including athletes, coaches, teams, and officials for outstanding performances in their sport over the 2019 season.

Each finalist was nominated by their Provincial or Multi-Sport Organization, High School, College, or University. The Selection Committee, led by long-serving chairperson Bernie Pascall, included a diverse group of highly experienced British Columbia sports leaders and media members.

“While our celebration was delayed, the Virtual Athlete of the Year Awards will be a true celebration of sport in our province, the recipients represent an exceptional 2019 in BC sport and we would like to thank everyone for their patience in announcing our winners,” said Rob Newman, president and CEO of Sport BC. “We congratulate all of our finalists and the organizations they represent.”

In 2019, Leach won silver at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, his first-ever competition, missing a gold medal by just a sixth of a second. From there, he went to Colorado and won three gold medals in the USA-/Canada Para-Alpine Nationals.

Leach has a macular degenerative eye condition called Stargardt Disease that affects his central vision and leaves blind spots and missing pieces in his sight. He is deemed legally blind. In competition, he is led through the course by a guide skier.

He has been skiing for more than a decade now, starting with SilverStar Adaptive Snow Sports and then moving to the Vernon Ski Club and becoming a part of the Snow Sport Academy within the Vernon School District.

Leach was the first skier with a disability to join the Snow Sport Academy, blazing a trail for others to follow. He was named to the B.C. Para-Alpine Development program with B.C. Adaptive Snowsports in 2017.

Leach has been nominated for the Sport BC award along with Victoria’s Nathan Reich (athletics) and wheelchair tennis player Thomas Venos of Anmore (village near Coquitlam).

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roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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