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, New Mexico. After he landed a job in Park City, Utah and the couple moved, Umstead struggled finding 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.
"Vision, Umstead says "is to have sight, an idea, or a dream."
It began with her vision for gold at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, and the goal to win four gold medals in Vancouver.
Umstead has an eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa and early onset macular degeneration meaning she has no central vision and is loosing her peripheral vision, but with the help of her husband, Rob, the two have compiled an impressive record. So far they are five-time National Adaptive Ski Champions and will be competing together in their first Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
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.
- 2010: Bronze medals, downhill and super combined – Paralympic Winter Games, Vancouver, Canada
- 2010: Third place Super Combined, Fifth place Downhill - World Cup, Sestriere, Italy
- 2009: Third place, downhill, giant slalom, and slalom - World Cup, Whistler, B.C.
Check out their Website www.Vision4Gold.org. The site also provides links to their blog on www.teamusa/paralympics blog, facebook page, and twitter.