Eldora Special Recreation Program

May 14, 2008 by  
Filed under features

In 1975, the Eldora Special Recreation Program was established at the Eldora Mountain Resort, and started with only ten students from the University of Colorado. Last year the program had more than a hundred and forty students, of which some come back each year to join in the fun and to improve their skiing and snowboarding skills. The Eldora Special Recreation Program gives people who are mentally challenged and who have physical disabilities the opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking slopes of the mountains, just like any other able-bodied person would.

Giving people with disabilities the freedom and independence to navigate themselves on the slopes, increases their self-confidence and self-worth. It is a fantastic outlet, requiring thought and skill. Without the Eldora Special Recreation Program, many of its students would still be sitting on the sidelines watching others. The program instills the security that any disability can be overcome. A range of specially modified equipment, assists students in achieving their goals.

The only requirement is that students have to be older than five years. Instructors are capable in teaching skiing methods especially designed to assist people with amputations, visual impairments, physical disabilities, hearing impairments, developmental disabilities and congenital disabilities. They are able to meet the needs that students can’t find at normal skiing schools. The Eldora Special Recreation Program offers adaptive programs and lessons in nordic skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and alpine skiing. They have a wide range of Mono-Ski’s, Sit-Ski’s and even offer Pull Cross Country Skiing. Accommodation for students can also be arranged over weekends and holidays.

After gaining experience in the lessons given by the instructors, students are able to join in on the race training program. Skiers of similar disabilities are taught to race against each other, and the program works closely with the Special Olympics, getting skiers ready to participate in the Winter Special Olympics.

But the Eldora Special Recreation Program would not function without its dedicated volunteers who offer their skills and time to help others. Approximately a hundred volunteers sign up each year, amongst who are regular members of the community, college students and people from all walks of life that want to reach out. Their patience, love for skiing and willingness to assist others to share in the joy of their sport, brings people together and facilitates success, pride and achievement.