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Special Olympics Unified Skiing and Snowboarding Returns to X Games Aspen 2023

Special Olympics Athletes are Paired with their Unified Sports partners for a Live Streamed Unified Race at X Games Aspen 2023
Daina Shilts and Mons Røisland raise their arms and snowboards in the air while standing on podiums outside in the snow.
Special Olympics athlete Daina Shilts and pro snowboarder Mons Røisland receive the gold medal at the 2022 X Games in Aspen, Colorado.

WHAT: This year, Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding is returning for its eighth year at X Games Aspen and Unified Skiing is returning for the third year. Teams will be comprised of one professional action sports athlete, including X Games and Olympic medalists, and one Special Olympics athlete for a total of twelve, two-person teams competing in snowboarding and skiing.

Each of the team members will take one run on each of the two competition courses, with the professional athletes racing against one another and the Special Olympics athletes racing one another. The combined best times of each team will determine the results.

Special Olympics Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. Since 2013, X Games’ broadcast partner - ESPN - has been the Global Presenting Sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports and supports unified activation around the world.

WHEN: Friday, January 27th at 1:30 p.m. MT

WHERE: The Special Olympics Unified Snowboarding and Skiing course is located above the start of the Big Air course at X Games Aspen

WATCH: The event will be streamed live on @XGames, YouTube and Twitch channels, more information at

WHO: 12 Special Olympics athletes and 12 of the world’s top action sports athletes and personalities.

Special Olympics AthletesUnified Partners
Catherine Darrow (Lyons, Colo.)Elizabeth Hosking (Quebec, Canada)
  • Attends Front Range College and volunteers for the Autism Society of Boulder County
  • A dedicated student athlete, she has participated in Special Olympics for seven years
  • Second X Games appearance
  • Second X Games appearance
  • 2nd place at 2022 World Cup in Copper
  • Two-time Olympian in snowboard pipe
  • Youngest athlete on Team Canada for 2018 Olympics at 16-years-old
William Ethridge (Kingston Springs, Tenn.)Jack Mitrani (Long Island, N.Y.)
  • First X Games appearance
  • Competed in basketball, volleyball, flag football, and of course, snowboarding
  • Lives with his sister and two pigs in Cheatham County, TN where he works as a life skills assistant at the high school he graduated from
  • Host of X Games since 2016
  • Spent 12 years as a competitive snowboarder
Cody Field (Centennial, Colo.)Craig McMorris (Saskatchewan, Canada)
  • Won three gold medals at the Special Olympics World Winter Games Pyeongchang 2013 and was named Special Olympics Colorado Male Athlete of the Year
  • Works for United Airlines at Denver International Airport as a Special Olympics Ambassador helping passengers find their way
  • X Games medalist and snowboard analyst since 2015
  • Created the McMorris Foundation with his brother, to help increase sport participation in children
Ion Adrian Frantsi (Lahti, Finland)Queralt Castellet (Barcelona, Spain)
  • First X Games appearance
  • A multi-sport athlete in snowboarding, cross-country skiing, golf, and floorball. Competed at the Finland National Games
  • Three-time X Games SuperPipe medalist, including gold in 2020.
  • Silver medalist at 2022 Olympics in Halfpipe
  • Has appeared in five Olympic Games
Henry Meece (Portland, Oreg.)Chris Klug (Aspen, Colo.)
  • Placed first in Unified Snowboarding at X Games Aspen four times (2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019)
  • Represented Special Olympics USA at the Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017
  • Received the 2017 Special Olympics Oregon Lou Burge Athlete of the Year Award presented at the Oregon Sports Awards
  • After receiving a liver transplant in 2000, he went on to compete in the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games and won a bronze medal in Parallel Giant Slalom
  • Won a bronze medal and lit the torch at the 2002 National Kidney Foundation U.S. Transplant Games
Daina Shilts (Neillsville, Wisc.)Mons Røisland (Høvik, Norway)
  • Was part of the Special Olympics USA Games 2018 TV talent team for ESPN, as the first female with an intellectual disability to serve as an analyst
  • Medaled five times in Unified Snowboarding at X Games Aspen (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2020)
  • Won back-to-back X Games Snowboard Slopestyle silver in 2020 and 2021
  • Added Big Air bronze in 2021
  • Silver medalist in Big Air at the 2022 Beijing Olympics

Confirmed Special Olympics and professional action sports athletes competing in Unified Skiing include:

Special Olympics Athletes Unified Partners
Oceane Gendre (Sion, Switzerland) Brita Sigourney (Carmel, Calif.)
  • Bronze medalist at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria
  • Océane likes to travel, dance, meet new people and listen to music; she competes in swimming and skiing with Special Olympics
  • This is her first X Games
  • Five-time X Games medalist
  • Three-time Olympian in halfpipe, including winning a bronze medal in 2018
Tanner Jadwin (Glenwood Springs, Colo.) Aaron Blunk (Crested Butte, Colo)
  • Began skiing at 20 years old
  • Participated in regional and state skiing competitions for Special Olympics
  • Second X Games Appearance
  • X Games SuperPipe Gold medalist in 2017
  • Competed in the 2014 Olympics
Palmer Lyons (Parker, Colo.)Victoria Arlen (Exeter, N.H.)
  • A member of the Alpine race team at Colorado Mesa University where he is working on a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education
  • Black belt in Karate
  • Won gold at X Games Unified Ski (2021 and 2022)
  • Made her ESPN debut as a features venue reporter at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles
  • Overcame Transverse Myelitis and Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis
  • Paralympic gold medalist and three-time silver medalist in swimming
Haldan Pranger (Lakewood, Colo.)Hanna Faulhaber (Basalt, Colo.)
  • Competes in 13 different sports with Special Olympics, but is most passionate about alpine skiing
  • Part of the Athlete Leadership Program and a Fitness Captain with Special Olympics Colorado
  • Won silver at X Games Unified Ski (2021 and 2022)
  • Second X Games appearance
  • Competed in the Beijing Olympics
Jacqueline Trudeau (Manitoba, Canada)Tom Wallisch (Pittsburgh, Penn.)
  • First time at the X Games
  • Gold medalist in the super giant slalom at Special Olympics Canada National Games
  • Gold medalist at 2012 X Games
  • Current X Games ski analyst
Luca Vergnano (Pianezze, Italy)Nico Porteous (Hamilton, NZ)
  • Competed in Special Olympics for more than ten years.
  • Participated in Summer and Winter National Games, participating in skiing and tennis.
  • First X Games appearance
  • X Games Aspen gold medalist in 2021 and 2022
  • 2022 Olympic Halfpipe Champion

About Special Olympics

Founded in 1968, Special Olympics is a global movement to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. We foster acceptance of all people through the power of sport and programming in education, health, and leadership. With more than six million athletes and Unified Sports partners and one million coaches and volunteers in over 200 accredited Programs, Special Olympics delivers more than 30 Olympic-type sports and over 100,000 games and competitions every year. Engage with us on: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedInand our blog on Medium. Learn more at

Media Contact


Special Olympics International
+1 202 738-8511

Heather Krug

PR for X Games
+1 310 463-1415