Jack Clark is 22 years old, and the longest scholarship recipient at GMAS. Jack comes from a family of athletes and shares in the natural talent and love of sports. He grew up in Stowe and attended Stowe schools and graduated from Northern Vermont University in March of 2020. After graduating, he launched his sports career at the Alchemist Brewery where he has been writing a weekly sports newsletter for the past two years. Besides skiing in the winter, Jack’s other great passion is ice hockey. His brother is a coach and his sister a goalie in college. As a family they attend a lot of their games. Jack also has a gig, announcing and handling the music for boys and girls Stowe High School games at Stowe Arena. Jack also watches a lot of sports and his favorite sports teams are the NY Rangers and NY Yankees. If he’s not at a family sports activity, you can find him playing sports video games or listening to music. Summer brings weekly family softball games and lots of golf. You can find him coaching and giving tips to everyone as he rides around in the cart.
We sat down with Jack and asked him a few questions.
GMAS: How long have you been involved with GMAS?
Jack: I’ve been involved with GMAS (Stowe Adaptive) since 2005 when I started the Friday Ski Program through Stowe Elementary in 1st grade. Having Cerebral Palsy there was no doubt I would try, it was just figuring out the equipment and how I could get down the mountain. There was no bi-ski at the time. The crew created an adaptive slider with an instructor on each side. From the first time on Inspiration it created in me a desire to go faster! By 3rd grade GMAS had purchased their first Mountain Man bi-ski. The rest is history. I’ve been skiing for 16 years with GMAS. I’ve even had the opportunity to start the Paralympic races at the AIG Winter Summit for 3 years with my instructor Keja.
GMAS: Can you tell us a little about what the Friday SkI Program was like for you
Jack: It was so much fun and it allowed me to ski right alongside my classmates. My favorite memory was in 5th grade when my instructor Chris took a huge jump and we went flying through the air and my friends on the chairlift were screaming and cheering for me.
GMAS: Are you still skiing with GMAS, and have things changed for you over the years?
Jack: I am still skiing and looking forward to this winter. I’ve had different instructors over the years which is good because they all teach me different techniques. I’ve really learned a lot between bucketing and tethering and have gotten very strong with weight shifting in the bi-ski to get down the mountain. I’ve been able to adapt to the longer runs and I’m able to go up the Gondola on the Mt. Mansfield side.
GMAS: What are some of the main gains, or things you feel have most benefited you from your participation in the GMAS programs?
Jack: Skiing allows me to get out in the winter and be outside. It allows me to be physical, always something to learn on every run, and I get to enjoy a sport with friends and family.
GMAS: What would you like to tell other young people with disabilities in regards to being active in sports?
Jack: The excitement and the achievement of learning how to do something like everybody else makes me feel really good and makes me progress to get better and better. You can start small in the sport that interests you and the instructors will help you move along at your own speed.
GMAS: What are your goals for the future?
Jack: My future goal is to keep skiing as long as they keep making bi-ski’s to hold my body weight and to go fast!
GMAS: Anything else you’d like to share with us?
Jack: GMAS is the best! All the instructors and board members have been so kind and helpful in keeping me physically active.
From GMAS: You can be part of Jack’s story, and that of the many other young athletes participating in GMAS’ Adaptive Sports Programs. It’s easy to help, by getting involved as a volunteer, or by making a donation to support Green Mountain Adaptive Sports’ programs. Know that all of the funds raised go directly to support athletes’ scholarship programs.