SUN VALLEY -- A couple athletes from the Sun Valley area went to Sochi, Russia and brought home Olympic medals. Kaitlyn Farrington won gold in the snowboard halfpipe event and Hilary Knight won silver with the U.S. Women's Hockey Team.
Another athlete from Sun Valley is in Sochi right now. Visually impaired cross country skier Jake Adicoff of Ketchum is there to compete in the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
January 29, 2014 is a day 18-year-old Jake will long remember. It's the day he found out he made the U.S. Paralympic Nordic Team.
It's a pretty incredible thing to hear to be representing my nation and the team around here, said Adicoff. It's a really cool feeling.
Getting the chance to compete in five events in the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi didn't just happen. He worked for it. The journey started when Jake joined the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation as an 8-year-old in 2003. Then it took hours, days, weeks, months and years of work in the gym and out on the trails.
575 to 600 training hours this year as a goal, and it's gotten incrementally larger since freshman year, said Adicoff.
Jake isn't making this journey alone. Reid Pletcher, 25, is his skiing guide. Jake is visually impaired.
Before I was born I had chicken pox and I got two large scars on both of my retinas, said Adicoff.
As a result, Jake is blind in his right eye and has about 25 percent vision in his left. In my case I can see Reid skiing in front of me, so that in itself is helpful.
They've only been paired up about five months. They quickly got in sync.
For how little we've actually trained and skied together, I would say it's amazing, said Pletcher.
Reid isn't only helping Jake. In a sense, it goes both ways. Reid says he spent the last fifteen years going for the Olympic dream.
I had a traumatic brain injury a couple years ago and some crazy stuff happened with that that kind of slowed my skiing career down a little bit, said Pletcher.
Then the chance came up to ski with Jake.
It's given me the opportunity to kind of still head to Russia and kind of live vicariously through him and experience the whole thing and feel like I'm still a part of it, said Pletcher.
Of the five events Jake will compete in in Sochi, four are cross country skiing races. The fifth is a biathlon, which combines cross country skiing and shooting.
They have these special guns for visually impaired athletes. You put a set of head phones on and the closer you get to the target, the more high pitched the sound from the headphones is, said Adicoff Once you hear a distinctly high pitch, you pull the trigger and hope that you hit the target.
Adicoff says his goal in Sochi is simple: hit the courses and throw down.
I'm hoping to just get there and ski as fast as I can. Whether that means a medal or not doesn't really matter to me.
But he adds that it would be great to stand on the podium.
There is one pretty cool footnote to all this. Pletcher says if Jake wins a medal, he gets one too.
The opening ceremonies for the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games are Friday, March 7.
Jake's and Reid's first event is Saturday, March 8.
Here is their event schedule:
7.5K Biathlon, March 8
20K Classic, March 10
Freestyle (skate) Sprints, March 12
Freestyle Relay (4 people x 2.5K each), March 15
Freestyle 10K, March 16
Closing ceremonies, March 16
Click here for the full event schedule.