A current of snowflakes sparkling through the sunshine and dancing through the breeze amid peaks blanketed in snow is an experience that should be accessible and shared by everyone of any ability. Programs that offer adaptive skiing and snowboarding make it all possible...
Learn where you can take an adaptive ski or snowboard lesson in Utah or find an organization that offers rewarding volunteer work.
Volunteering with the Wasatch Adaptive Sports (WAS) organization is the most enriching experience I've discovered on skis. To spread joy and wonder with the students of WAS has given me a profoundly deeper gratitude for skiing. This friendly community taught me how to share the impactful wisdom of skiing and in turn, the adaptive students have shown me the capacity for resilience, hope and willingness to try new and scary things. In fact, it was because of a WAS fundraiser that I decided to try watercolor painting and in the process discovered an entirely new career opportunity!
In summary, signing up for an adaptive lesson or volunteering for an organization that provides adaptive opportunities can be life-changing for everyone involved! It's a gratifying way to pay it all forward back into a sport you love.
To learn what an adaptive lesson is like, take a peep at my WAS lesson with Ruby, an enthusiastic and fun-loving gal who instantly felt comfortable on her skis as we lapped Snowbird's Chickadee Bowl—check out her story here. You can use this Ski Utah guide to find adaptive opportunities in Northern Utah at a number of our ski areas and resorts.
WASATCH ADAPTIVE SPORTS
Snowbird, Alta & Sundance
Wasatch Adaptive Sports primarily operates out of Snowbird but they do also service students at Alta Ski Area and Sundance Mountain Resort. The enthusiastic staff wields a wide variety of tools to teach folks to ski or snowboard. Snowshoeing outings are also offered on occasion. In the summer months, adaptive athletes can take advantage of a wider array of programming from yoga and biking to paddleboarding. Wasatch Adaptive has special programming for Veterans and military personnel with 100% of costs covered by a scholarship. Thanks to a community of avid donors, Wasatch Adaptive also offers scholarships for all students in financial need.
NATIONAL ABILITY CENTER
Moab, Park City Mountain, Deer Valley, Brighton & Solitude
With a wide scope of programming, activities and outdoor education, the National Ability Center is an invaluable asset to the Wasatch Back community and beyond with campuses in Moab and Park City. With everything from gear rentals to virtual classes, the NAC also provides adaptive access to water sports, skiing and snowboarding, nordic skiing, fat tire biking, rock climbing, snowshoeing, rafting, horseback riding, paddleboarding, cycling, mountain biking and archery. The NAC features a state-of-the-art facility in Kimball Junction and changes lives daily with the help of over 1,900 volunteers. Learn more about the NAC here.
The NAC provides skiing and snowboarding outings to Park City Mountain, Deer Valley Resort, Brighton and Solitude Mountain Resort. NAC instructors are trained to teach adaptive techniques with 3-track, 4-track, mono-skis, bi-skis, snow sliders, ski bike, snowboard equipment and guide gear for skiers or boarders with visual blindness or low vision. Equipment can be rented for personal use once adaptive skiers or riders are checked off with the NAC team. Instructors will work tirelessly to help students reach personal goals and help them reach proficiency to get out on the mountain with their friends or family.
The National Ability Center is also a Gold Level U.S. Paralympic Sport Club, meaning it offers matchless training and opportunities for individuals with physical disabilities who hope to compete in elite events like the Special Olympics or the Paralympic Games.
All members of the Armed Forces or Veterans are encouraged to participate in any and all NAC programming. Families are welcome and the center also puts on a number of family programs and military camps and expeditions. Most NAC programming is offered at no cost to service members and scholarships are available for accompanying family members.
Beaver Mountain & Logan
Find the Common Ground crew galavanting around the Logan area or enjoying their incredible facility at Beaver Mountain. Averaging over 700 adaptive ski lessons per winter, Common Ground is a tight-knit community that has been tirelessly expanding access to the great outdoors since 1993. Common Ground is based in Logan, Utah where they offer excursions in cycling, rafting, canoeing, rock climbing, outdoor arts and crafts, yoga, hiking, and social events.
In 2017, in partnership with land donated by Beaver Mountain, Common Ground triumphantly opened their AMK Foundation/ BIO-WEST, Inc. Adaptive Center next to the Harry's Dream chairlift. Common Ground runs year-round events out of the center but specializes in daily ski and snowboard lessons in the winter. When visiting, I was struck by what a close community Common Ground has fostered and how much fun everyone was having.
OGDEN VALLEY ADAPTIVE SPORTS
Snowbasin, Nordic Valley & Powder Mountain
Servicing Snowbasin Resort, Nordic Valley and Powder Mountain, Ogden Valley Adaptive Sports (OVAS) takes advantage of the beautiful surroundings to host programs that build self-confidence and self-esteem. Private ski lessons can be booked at Snowbasin through OVAS or directly with OVAS. Scholarships are on offer for need-based students and lessons will include private instruction, a lift ticket and adaptive equipment rental. Adaptive cycling is offered in the summer months.
OVAS also works directly with CONTINUE MISSION, a non-profit that supports Veterans with physical, mental or emotional injuries. Veterans and their families may enjoy programming through OVAS for life-affirming and positive outdoor exposure with an emphasis on mental health.
Accessible Trails in the Wasatch - Click Here
How Having a Child With Down Syndrome Taught Us to Appreciate the Outdoors - Click Here
Learning to Ski as a Family - Click Here
Family Winter Activities for Non-Skiers - Click Here
Meet the National Ability Center - Click Here
Shred for Red - Harper's Story - Click Here
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