Members of Colby’s alpine ski team have turned their agility on skis into an opportunity to help others.
Fifteen Colby skiers spent Sunday, Jan. 8 at Sugarloaf working with trainers for Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation (formerly Maine Handicapped Skiing), learning how to guide skiers who are amputees, are in wheelchairs, or have extreme stability issues. And the ability of Colby’s skiers, said Sugarloaf Program Coordinator Toby Burdet, made them fast learners.
“They were able to do things right off the bat that a lot of recreational level skiers would not be able to do—just having that extreme level of comfort on skis is huge,” he said. “That’s very rare to see the first day out, and certainly I’ve never seen it consistently across a group of people like that.”
Colby’s skiers spent some of their time in the role of the adaptive skier, learning what it feels like to ski with handheld outriggers or sitting down. They also took the role of guide, including being tethered behind sit-skiers to provide speed control and stability.
Head coach Danny Noyes ’02 called it “an incredible experience for our students, as well as an opportunity to lend perspective to challenges disabled athletes face in the winter in Maine.” He looks forward to team members putting these new skills to use. “It’s a really nice way for us to give back and to become involved,” he said.
Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation, which serves 400 participants with 400 volunteers, is the largest year-round adaptive recreation program in Maine for adults and children with physical disabilities.