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It's all downhill for Beckmann

Chris Beckmann's life is centered in the mountains.

The 21-year-old Altamont native is currently in Colorado training with the United States Ski Team for the upcoming season one which he hopes will bring him to the top level of Alpine skiing, the World Cup.

I've already had some World Cup experience," said Beckmann after a training session Sunday. "I do not have a World Cup spot this season. We have two spots open on the World Cup team, and four guys are going for those two spots including me."

Beckmann has a good international rEsumE going for him. He medaled in the downhill competition at the 2005 and 2006 Junior World Championships " taking the gold medal in 2006 " and was second in the 2006 North American rankings. He also placed 19th at his first World Cup event back in March 2006 in Sweden. Last year, he competed in nine International Ski Federation (FIS) races, winning one and placing in the top 10 in five more.

Not bad for someone who grew up in the shadow of the Helderberg Escarpment, dozens of miles away from the nearest mountain.

"I'm not even sure how I got into it," said Beckmann. "I think the first time (I skied), it was a family trip to Maple Ski Ridge (in Rotterdam). I was probably about 6 years old at the time."

Beckmann didn't join his first ski team until several years later when he followed in his older brother David's footsteps and started competing with the West Mountain club. A couple of years later, Beckmann began spending winters in Lake Placid with the New York Ski Education Foundation while continuing to attend Guilderland High School.

"It was tough juggling schoolwork and skiing, but it helped me to get out and do skiing in the morning and do schoolwork in the afternoon," said Beckmann.

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