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Busy winter coming up

Aspen Times Staff Report

The slopes of Aspen and Snowmass are quickly becoming a Mecca for disabled skiers, thanks to the work of Challenge Aspen.

The organization, dedicated to providing recreational opportunities for the disabled, has been instrumental in boosting the number of events for the disabled that will take place here this winter.

This week’s International Adaptive Symposium is only the beginning.

Most notably, said Challenge Aspen co-founder Amanda Boxtel, the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic will come to Snowmass on March 23-30.

Event organizers chose Snowmass over three other ski areas that were also under consideration, according to Boxtel. Some 1,500 people, including about 400 disabled veterans along with their instructors and families, are expected for the week, she said.

The veterans event took place here nine or 10 years ago, before moving to Crested Butte, Boxtel said. It will be held at Snowmass for the next four years, she said, and after the first two, organizers have the option of signing up for the next 10 years.

Also new this season, Challenge Aspen will host students from the Arkansas School for the Deaf in January and a visit from about 12 students from the Tennessee School for the Blind, Boxtel said.

January will bring about 20 mono-skiers from around the country for an annual mono-ski camp, followed by the Visually Impaired Ski Fest in February, also an annual event.

Challenge Aspen is seeking local volunteers to help with all of its programs, from guiding blind skiers to assisting the disabled with adaptive ski equipment.

Two-day training sessions are planned Dec. 8 and 9, Dec. 11 and 12 and Dec. 20 and 21. Anyone interested in attending should call Stacey at the Challenge Aspen office, 923-0578.


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