by Dalton Carver
A Ridgway winter sports athlete is ready to take her success to the next level this winter. Colorado attracts many skiers and boarders every year, but not many winter athletes pursue the sport professionally, and even fewer pursue the competition known as ski cross. Leta McNatt is doing both.
McNatt walks into Cimarron Books and Coffee to talk about her winter sports aspirations after getting off work at Kate’s Place the last Thursday of October. It was her last day of work for the summer. It’s one of several jobs she’s had over the summer, in addition to working for the Town of Ridgway in the public works department.
McNatt has worked tirelessly, sometimes seven days a week, over the warm season to raise money for a winter sports campaign that begins this week.
A little more than two weeks after her last day at Kate's, the 22-year-old hopped on a plane to Austria last Wednesday to start her ski cross season.
Snow sports, whether it’s skiing or boarding, are already regarded as intense. Athletes, essentially strapped to pieces of wood and plastic, set their sights down a large hill and make their way down the powder as quickly or as stylishly as possible. The danger of making a mistake and tumbling down a mountainside is always present.
Add three other competitors to the same slope and several obstacles in the way, make it all count for time and you have ski cross.
Not yet as popular or as recognized as other forms of ski sports in the U.S., ski cross is