Powder Hounds: Creating a Colorado Ski Club for People of All Abilities

Powder Hounds, a local ski club with the National Sports Center for the Disabled’s (NSCD) Adaptive Ski School, came into existence over six years ago. Powder Hounds is a group of 10 individuals with various intellectual disabilities who drive together to Winter Park and enjoy the day on the slopes as a social activity.

Tim Batz, the father of skier Dylan Batz, stated, “It is amazing to see the young adults’ sense of accomplishment to ski and achieve something they didn’t know they could do. Seeing their faces, as their confidence builds, brings us back year after year.”

The name “Powder Hounds” was developed through the creativity of its participants and inspired by Tall Tales Ranch, a local non-profit. The mission of Tall Tales Ranch is to provide a life-sharing community where people of all abilities can live in a supportive environment and reach their full potential. Tall Tales Ranch was founded by Pat and Susan Mooney, who are the parents of Ross, one of the Powder Hounds. The ski club is currently sponsored and supported by the Gary Plumery Foundation, Developmental Pathways, and the parents. 

When asked about creating a new club and what this entails for others in the community, parent Tim Batz shared, “Anyone in the community who has an interest can create a group. To start, register with NSCD’s Adaptive Ski School, and if there is an adequate number of volunteer instructors available to pair with the team, they can be off to enjoy the powdery peaks.”

The Powder Hounds is an example of families coming together to create a community for young adults. Their club currently consists of friends Tim’s son Dylan made in high school. Members expressed that they enjoy the time with friends and they love to ski; plus, this offers some respite time for parents. 

“This keeps Dylan and his peers connected through something they enjoy and allows them to continue to enrich their lives within the community. The social connection they get is the greatest value,” said Tim.

The Powder Hounds ski club is most proud of fostering community and personal relationships. Everyone is already looking forward to next season!