KINGSFORD - Racing down a ski hill is tough enough.
Kelly Allen, a sophomore at Kingsford High School, does it on one leg.
Allen has proximal femoral focal deficiency. She was born without a major thigh bone and is missing most of her left leg.
Kingsford's Kelly Allen competes in the slaloms during the Upper Peninsula Ski Championships at Marquette Mountain in February. Allen has proximal femoral focal deficiency, which means she was born without a major thigh bone, and she is missing most of her left leg. But missing a leg hasn’t stopped her from doing anything an athlete with two legs can do, including downhill skiing. (Journal file photo by Andy Nelson-Zaleski)
"I'd like to consider myself a normal skier, and I feel honored to be skiing with everyone. It's nice to be around them," Allen said after she competed in the 2009 Upper Peninsula High School downhill ski championship at Marquette Mountain Feb. 17.
Allen began skiing as a freshman. She has to use her arms and outriggers - small, specialized skis attached to the bottom of her poles - to help negotiate the hill.
In addition to skiing the slalom and giant slalom courses, Allen also plays tennis, golf and softball for Kingsford with use of a prosthetic.
"In my other sports, I know I'm a little behind the curve, but skiing is by far the toughest," she told The Marquette Mining Journal.
Allen also participates in the Extremity Games, a national competition for athletes with amputation and limb differences. She has done kayak and rock climbing and plans to golf this summer. She won the kayak world title last year.
For her participation, Allen has been presented the Gil Heard Courageous Athlete Award by the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association. The award is given to an athlete who overcomes handicaps to participate in sports.
Heard, a former UPSSA member, was sports information director at Northern Michigan University for 23 years despite long-standing health issues. He died in 1992.