Ski Spectacular Unifies Adaptive Education at Annual Event

The Hartford Ski Spectacular, hosted by Move United, wrapped up at the Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge, Colorado, last week. With more than 800 registered participants Ski Spectacular is one of the nation’s largest winter sports festivals for people with disabilities.

“Once again, the Hartford Ski Spectacular with Move United was a huge success to grow and unify the adaptive snowsports community,” said PSIA-AASI Director of Education Dave Schuiling. “We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with Move United, including a recent collaboration with the support of a Veteran’s Affairs grant to build new teaching adaptive snowsports e-learning courses.”

Move United Programs Director Julia Ray said that Move United understands education resources are vital to supporting its 200+ member organizations and volunteers.

The Adaptive Team Reflects on Ski Spectacular

PSIA-AASI Adaptive Team Coach Geoff Krill said the event is an important aspect of his season kickoff. He said, “Having a place where clinicians and instructors from all over the country gather to learn about new teaching techniques and equipment innovations lets trainers and instructors wrap their minds around how to launch their educational initiatives.”

PSIA-AASI Adaptive Team member Christina Bruno said her top three takeaways are:

  1. The great variety of adaptive equipment vendors. We saw new upgrades to mono- and bi-skis and also saw Snowyaks, Twinrider (a sit down snowboard), and Burton participating in a demo of the StepOn boot and binding system that has had a lot of success with riders of all abilities and diagnoses.
  2. Having more clinic participants who used adaptive equipment or prosthetics to ski or ride. More students who have participated in adaptive ski and ride programs are transitioning to instructing, which is exciting!
  3. The focus on the Learning Connection Model and how the alpine and snowboarding fundamentals easily apply to using adaptive equipment. This allowed participants to gain a solid technical foundation across disciplines. Many clinics were multidisciplinary which offered opportunities to understand equivalencies and similarities, “demystifying” each discipline.

Team member Mike Ma said he was inspired by the fact that, “The unifying theme amongst all the clinicians was a focus on independence, fundamentals, and movement! From talking about autism to advanced monoskiing, to prosthetics, all topics reinforced the concept that there really is no such thing as adaptive skiing or snowboarding – it’s just skiing or snowboarding.”

Mike added, “Personally, all the attendees provided such passion and fire for the craft of teaching adaptive, that I am recommitted to reconnecting with as many members both in person and digitally to keep the stoke alive.”