Canadian Mac Marcoux, guided by his brother BJ, made the perfect start to the IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships on home snow in Panorama on Wednesday (4 March), winning gold in the men's downhill visually impaired.
On the first day of competition skiers from six different countries won world titles and Marcoux (1:29.68) led the way stylishly adding the world title to the bronze medal he won in this event at Sochi 2014. The USA's Mark Bathum (1:31.89) and guide Cade Yamamoto were second ahead of Slovakia's Miroslav Haraus (1:32.12) and guide Maros Hudik in third.
"We just skied, see what happens," Mac said of his first world title. "It was a good run. There's such a good surface on the hill. I'm pretty stoked."
Australia's Melissa Perrine (1:45.80) collected her first career world title in the women's visually impaired with guide Andrew Bor. In a close race, Perrine led the USA's Danelle Umstead (1:46.32) and her husband guide Rob into silver. Russia's Aleksandra Frantceva (1:51.57), guided by Semen Pliaskin, silver medallists from 2013 were third.
Austria's Claudia Loesch (1:33.29) completed a stunning run to fulfil her dream of winning the women's downhill sitting world title. The 26-year-old gave it everything she had, barely taking her foot off of the accelerator to take gold on a crystal clear day. Japan's Momoko Muraoka (1:35.95) took silver, whilst Germany's Anna Schaffelhuber (1:38.06), who completed a clean sweep of Paralympic titles in Sochi, could only manage bronze.
"It's the last cornerstone of my career," Loesch said. "I knew at the start that I just had to ski it and rock it. I am just so happy and relieved right now, I'm close to tears. It was amazing. It was so much fun skiing down today and I can't believe it. I'm so incredibly happy."
With the trees casting longer shadows over the course as the afternoon wore on, New Zealand's Corey Peters (1:28.06) won the men's sitting for his inaugural career gold. Austria's Roman Rabl (1:28.80), improving all the time, sealed silver and Japan's Taikii Morii (1:29.26) was third.
France's Paralympic champion Marie Bochet (1:32.81) got her campaign off to a great start by defending her world title in the women's standing, clearing German silver medallist rival Andrea Rothfuss (1:36.83) by over four seconds. Russia's Mariia Papulova (1:42.12) collected her first major international medal in third.
Russia's 17-year-old slalom and super-combined Paralympic champion Alexey Bugaev (1:27.60) eased to gold in the men's equivalent, to win his first world title at Panorama 2015.
Austria's Matthias Lanzinger (1:29.71) picked up silver, whilst Buagev's teammate Alexander Vetrov (1:31.25) joined them on the podium in third.
Races continue on Thursday (5 March) with super-G, beginning at 11am (MST).
Panorama 2015, featuring over 100 athletes from 23 countries, runs until 10 March and will be streamed live at www.Panorama2015.com alongside live results. Viewers in the US can watch via US Paralympics website and in Canada at CBCSports.ca.
Official results are available at www.paralympic.org/alpine-skiing/calendar-and-results.
Images from each day will be available at www.flickr.com/photos/paralympic/. Media wishing to receive high resolution images should contact Lucy.Dominy@paralympic.org.
Broadcast interviews will be available from a selection of winning athletes on each day. For access please contact email@example.com.
Live updates and behind the scenes will be available at www.Facebook.com/IPCAlpineSkiing, www.Twitter.com/IPCAlpine and @Paralympics Instagram.