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Ski Race Series Honors Aspen Native Who Died In Mine Shaft

Jan 9, 2015

An alpine racing event will be held in Aspen this weekend that honors a young competitive skier who died after skiing into a mine shaft. Eleven-year-old Wilder Dwight was skiing outside the ropes on Aspen Mountain in 1986 when the accident happened. Since his death, the race has been held annually and this year, his niece will participate. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

"My mom has mentioned a lot of stories about him actually skiing and sometimes he’d get a little out of control and get his pass taken away for speeding, and going too fast down some runs," says fourteen-year-old Ellie Oates of Aspen.

She has grown up hearing about her uncle. Now she’s racing in the super-G race series that attracts athletes from around the Rocky Mountain region. Besides stories of speed, Oates says her mom has told her about Wilder’s caring side.

"At the start of a race, if some kid didn’t have a pair of gloves my mom would say he’d be the kid to share his clothing. I try to make the best out of that and put that into my idea of life and helping other people."

Oates has been racing for two years and says slalom is her best event. The races at Tiehack on Saturday and Sunday, are hosted by the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club. They’re qualifying events for Junior Championships.