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Wintergreen Adaptive Sports

Mission: The mission of Wintergreen Adaptive Sports (WAS) is to provide opportunities in outdoor sports for persons of all ages with all types of disabilities–physical, cognitive, and sensory.

Community Need: In its seventh year, the Physical Therapy and Skiing (PT & Ski) program is a unique offering, the only one of its kind in the U.S. The lead instructor and program creator discovered at the outset the unique benefits of combining standard physical therapy regimens with the finely graduated and individualized adaptations of adaptive snow sports instruction, utilizing specialized equipment and techniques. The students served in this program, often presenting with spinal cord injuries or congenital muscolo-skeletal or spinal cord disabilities (spina bifida), find that this combination serves to enhance the well-known and ongoing benefits of physical therapy with the much less readily available stimuli and feedback responses common to adaptive snow sports. That it all takes place in a magnificent setting in the Blue Ridge Mountains adds immeasurably to the psycho-social factors that are always a significant part of such rehabilitative exercises. The “gap” that prevails here does so almost solely because there are not a multitude of such programs, limited mostly by the necessity for talented instructors, a willing and able university collaborator, and access to both a welcoming ski resort and a well-established adaptive snow sports program.

Primary Activities: From December through March, seven days per week, WAS offer adaptive instruction in skiing and snowboarding. From June through September, on weekends only, they offer adaptive instruction in kayaking and canoeing.  In both of these programs, they also offer specialized adaptive instruction to combat-injured service members, active duty and veteran, in their independent wounded warriors program.

Constituents Served: Any person with a disability of any type is eligible for their services. Last fiscal year, they served 159 people in their winter adaptive snow sports program, and 19 in their summer adaptive paddling program. Approximately 60% of the students are between the ages of 10 and 25, but they routinely teach individuals as young as three and as old as 70.

Program Details:  The PT & Ski program is a unique combined physical therapy and adaptive snow sports program offered only at Wintergreen Adaptive Sports over eight Thursdays throughout their snow sports season (December to March).  The rationale is to aid the rehabilitation or therapeutic advancement of persons with physical disabilities, for which the therapy and the adaptive snow sports movements -in combination, can provide the greatest possible benefit.

Amount Requested: $5,100

Operating Budget: $163,630

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