Learning to ski and other life lessons

It’s the time of year when many of us Coloradans spend more time on I-70 headed to the mountains than driving around Denver. The powder is fresh and so is our spirit for snow sports.

A few young people in our Community Outreach Program share a love for winter sports. Recently, Pathways provided funding for some of them to get involved with the National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD). NCSD facilitates outdoor therapeutic recreation and adaptive sports. They’re based out of Winter Park Resort and Sports Authority Field at Mile High and have been around since 1970 putting on ski lessons and a variety of year-round sports and activities.  If you don’t already, we think you should get to know them.

One of our parents whose son participated had this to say:

“This is Steve’s second year and he LOVES it! The instructors have been welcoming and understanding. They are given a file on each participant outlining their specific strengths, goals, needs and fears. We have found great coordination and balance development as well as a sense of accomplishment for our ‘snow athlete’. Besides that, it’s downright fun!”

One of Steven’s first rides

Another DP all-star is a veteran of the NSCD program. Dylan Batz has been skiing with NSCD for 17 years and is part of the McFlurries Ski Team. His father, Tim, says “Dylan has had about 150 lessons over the years and he’s a pretty darn good skier, he loves to go with his instructor each week and leave him in the dust!”

Tim started The McFlurries 4 years ago with 6 participants. Since then the group has nearly doubled with 11 young snow enthusiasts. Last week marked their first of 5 consecutive weekends in Winter Park honing their skills.

“The experience and the freedom on the mountain on skis is a chance for them to get away from their parents or caregivers,” explained Tim.  “A couple of years ago one individual was so terrified (but excited) that he had a seizure before he had a chance to ski.  He went back the next week and had 3 instructors helping him, now he skis alongside one!”

The McFlurries have also received funding from the Gary Plumery Foundation in addition to their support from our Community Outreach Program.

We’d like to thank NSCD for their amazing support and the volunteers and donors that make these achievements possible! From the first step into a ski to cruising down blues and blacks, these kids have gained some pretty valuable intrinsic skills along the way too.