SEATTLE -

Five disabled athletes from Washington, Oregon and Idaho flew to Russia to compete in the Paralympic Winter Games that opened Friday in Sochi.

Northwest Public Radio reports the members of the U.S. Paralympic Team are competing in downhill and cross-country skiing, biathlon and sled hockey. In addition, two sighted guides went to Sochi in tandem with the visually impaired skiers.

One athlete is paralyzed U.S. Air Force veteran Sean Halsted. He grew up able-bodied, skiing downhill at Mt. Spokane and North Idaho's Schweitzer Mountain. Now, he competes in cross-country and biathlon on what's called a sit-ski. The 43-year-old fell from a helicopter during a training exercise and was paralyzed from the waist down.