Castleton Skiers Lauded for Heroism

The morning of February 3 began as many others have this season for the Castleton University alpine ski team: a successful first run by the women had the Spartans sitting atop the team leaderboard with five racers among the top 10 individuals.

The men’s race got off to a quick start for the Spartans as well; Paul Rechberger and Logan Mackie each sat in the top five after strong opening runs. It wasn’t until Babson College’s Victor Wiacek took his first run that the day changed drastically for Wiacek and two Castleton women’s skiers.

Racing down the mountain in the giant slalom, Wiacek was nearing the crest of a hill that would send him into the final half of the course when one of his skis came loose in a turn and slid across his thigh, causing a deep laceration in his left leg and severing an artery. Kylie Mackie and Linn Ljungemo were acting as gatekeepers at the point where Wiacek went down, and sprang into action immediately upon seeing him crash. Both Spartan skiers are first-aid certified through Castleton’s e-care class.

All three skiers are also friends outside of competition and Mackie has known Wiacek for most of her life. “We would have helped anyone,” said Ljungemo. “But with it being Victor, we were so determined to help and keep him alive.”

Mackie and Ljungemo, along with Mackie’s father, Kurt, were the first individuals on the scene as onlookers waited for ski patrol to arrive and continue first aid. Read the full story at