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     Audra Jo and Jill Kinmont were best friends, long before they began competitive skiing
  as juniors in high school. They were equal as skiers, until polio devastated Audra's lower
  body, leaving half of her paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. Her obvious significance
  lies, of course, in her lifelong friendship with Jill Kinmont, but the ill fortune that befalls
  her early on in their lives also carries with it a bitter, almost novelistic irony (as if to say,
  "She was first, but when you get it, you will get it far worse.")

    Dave McCoy was Jill's skiing instructor, who coached her into racing early on in her career
  and then trained and prepared her for the bigger races later on. His significance is that he is
  a major role model and mentor for Jill, and continues to care for her even when she is confirmed
  to be paraplegic. She respects and looks up to him greatly, and he is a stoic man-- he does not
  praise freely, but when he does he means it. He is a very good person, and supports her
  throughout her life. Jill's Accident affected him deeply, but he did not care for his own desires and
  offered to support her future even though, as a cripple, she would never be his star student
  ever again.

    Dick Buek is the man that Jill eventually becomes engaged to. He is the comic relief to
  everyone, and a definite daredevil, but his significance lies also in the irony of his situation.
  He is fiercely confident and independent, but he is struck down almost immediately after Jill
  begins to get to know him. He pushes on, however, and soon becomes one of Jill's pillars of
  strength. He is faithful to her, even when her crush Bud Werner leaves her emotionally. If he had
  not died, he would have been the one to marry and take care of Jill for the rest of her life. That
  is his significance in her life.

    Bud Werner plays a queer, thankless role in Jill's life, as her first, short-lived "love". When he
  first meets Jill, he is struck by her pretty athletic vigour-- her outside image. While Jill is an
  honest, outgoing and exuberant person inside as well, he simply loses interest when she loses
  control over her body and can no longer ski. His significance is in the tentative, weak relationship
  he pushed upon Jill, and her tenacity to continue it as he becomes cooler. He must have
  inadvertently taught Jill her first serious lesson about "love". Also, the brave, courageous and
  self-sacrificing things the other significant people in Jill's life do for her is constantly contrasted
  against his immature actions, selfish at the core, until he finally (and quite literally) falls out of
  her life.

    Lee Zadrogas is a very important person in the story, when Jill meets him. He strikes her as
  completely unlike anyone she had ever known-- he is strong-willed, determined, and humane
  like all the people Jill was fortunate enough to have been surrounded by all her life, but as a
  direct contrast to all of them, he was also learned. He immediately becomes a significant
  mentor-figure to her, almost big-brother-like in his care towards tutoring her, and in this way
  he takes on, in the world of books, the role that Dave McCoy must have taken on for Jill in
  skiing. When Dave McCoy complimented her, Jill was incredibly happy and honoured. When
  she receives Lee's letter of reference, she feels the same way. He was probably one of the
  most significant new acquaintance that Jill makes after The Accident.

links out a quick review analysis of a significant passage Audra Jo, Dick Buek, Dave McCoy, Bud Werner, Lee Zadrogas about the author return home