This year, for the first time in our history, GMAS hosted veterans of the Wounded Warrior Project at Stowe Mountain Resort.
Green Mountain Adaptive Sports (GMAS) and the Adaptive Sports program of Wounded Warrior Project ® (WWP) came together February 28 and March 1st, 2023 to host a multi-day clinic for eight veterans at Stowe Mountain Resort.
GMAS and WWP’s Adaptive Sports program both focus on working with other organizations to help people with disabilities and injuries get more access to sports. The collaboration between the two organizations resulted in lots of laughter and cheering on both sides. The two organizations came together in the best way – to honor and empower wounded warriors.
In collaboration with GMAS, Wounded Warrior Project planned a multi-day clinic for a registered group of warriors with life-altering permanent injuries and adaptive needs to come to Stowe for two days of instruction in adaptive skiing, snowboarding, and rock climbing at Stowe Mountain Resort. Warriors were able to explore new skills utilizing adaptive equipment, including bi-skis, mono-skis, sliders, outriggers, and custom rock-climbing harnesses to meet the needs of individuals with a variety of injuries and abilities.
Mother Nature blessed the group with the best snow of the season, and the team took advantage of everything the resort has to offer. Spaulding Adaptive Sports Centers joined GMAS and Stowe Mountain Resort to provide coaching instruction on the snow, and the Stowe Rocks coaches put their recent adaptive climbing certifications funded by GMAS to work with the warriors at the climbing gym.
GMAS board president Cynthia Needham said, “We’re thrilled to team up with Wounded Warrior Project. We hope this is the first of many memories we make together.”
Marc Hoffmeister, adaptive sports director at Wounded Warrior Project also shared: “The purpose of Wounded Warrior Project’s Adaptive Sports program is to maximize the quality of life of our most severely injured warriors by empowering their independence in adaptive sports. Warriors rediscover the camaraderie and excitement that come with sports and learn that injuries do not prevent participation. At our clinics, wounded warriors learn to use specialized adaptive sports equipment and develop their athletic skills. They also connect with local resources and other wounded warriors with shared life experiences who set an example of what’s possible in adaptive sports. We strive to honor their service while challenging their competitive spirit and desire to grow stronger and more independent.”
For James (U.S. Army), this week was the first time he had ever seen snow falling – and he made it onto the chairlift, skiing parallel tracks down the Inspiration Trail. For Seyward (U.S. Army), it was a chance to get back on a wall for rock climbing (a sport her brother loves), and try some of Stowe’s new adaptive ski equipment. For Tim (U.S. Army), it was a chance to get on the steep slopes of Mt. Mansfield versus the small mountains in his own region. His first time climbing, he also turned out to be a fast and fierce climber.
Paul (U.S. Navy) said, “I have muscle in my leg and arm – I just can’t feel it.” After climbing to the top of one of the more challenging walls, belayed by Dillon Garvey of Stowe Rocks, Paul said simply, “I never thought this would be possible for me.” His words capture the spirit of adaptive athletics for us all.
GMAS wishes to thank all who have contributed to the success of this amazing event and more particularly:
- Spaulding Adaptive Sports Centers for bringing your amazing instructors and adaptive equipment
- Stowe Mountain Resort for providing free rental equipment and use of the Alpine Lounge
- Stowe Rocks and your incredible staff
- Kitlender, for providing and delivering free ski gear to two of the warriors
- Cathy Webster of Northeast Adaptive Athletic Association (NDAA) for always being there to lend a hand
- And all the generous volunteers for carving time out of your busy schedule to support us in hosting this event. We could not have done without all of you!
If you know of an organization that might be interested in partnering with Green Mountain Adaptive, reach out to them at https://greenmtnadaptive.org.
Enjoy the photos: https://share.icloud.com/photos/0c2B6SqVePkcCsmh1lDZ0wpOg
Green Mountain Adaptive Sports is a Vermont-based non-profit founded in 2010 on the belief that access to sports and recreational programs are a powerful means for people with disabilities to develop independence as well as physical and mental well-being. We focus on getting people out and having fun. The GMAS Mission is to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities living in or visiting Vermont, by partnering with organizations to increase their access to sports and recreational activities.
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.