PLATTE COUNTY, Mo. - Helen Will-Gallegos didn't fall in love with cross-country skiing when she tried it for the first time.
"We put her in ski school and she got mad and sat in a snowdrift," her mother TJ Will said as she recalled a family trip to Colorado.
But now, three years later, Will-Gallegos does love it and she's quite good at it. She was among 132 Special Olympians gathered at Snow Creek for the 25th annual John L. Cassidy Winter Games.
|GALLERY: Special Olympics winter games at Snow Creek http://bit.ly/1jraTWN
Last year she won a gold medal in cross-country skiing. It propelled her to the Special Olympics Winter World Games in South Korea where she won the silver.
"It was a truly amazing trip, a once-in-a-lifetime trip," Will said.
Her daughter won her preliminary race Thursday and will try to defend her title Friday.
The other Special Olympians at Snow Creek competed in various downhill skiing events, snow shoeing and cross-country skiing.
"This year we had several new snow shoers. They never tried it before," Special Olympics Director of Sports Clint Armistead said. "And they came all the way from Arkansas just to try it out. I think they had a good time."
Hockey and figure skating competitions were held at other venues.