Stowe Reporter
October 1, 2009

Participants were able to take advantage of a magnificent fall morning to run or walk through the beautiful trails at Trapp Family Lodge, the founding sponsor for the event. Thanks to the participants, the sponsors, and the von Trapp family and staff support and enthusiasm, the event raised sufficient funds to support three winter scholarships for local disabled athletes to ski or ride in the adaptive program at Stowe Mountain Resort's Ski and Snowboard School as well as expand our ability to offer snowboard lessons this coming season.

We're already planning our second annual Trail Run, and based on the enthusiastic comments from this year's trail runners and walkers, we expect at least to double the number of people participating next year.

Adaptive sports and recreation programs play a major role in the overall rehabilitation of people with disabilities. The adaptive program at Stowe Mountain Resort's Ski and Snowboard School is an affiliate of AbilityPlus, a nonprofit organization providing year-round access to sports for individuals with disabilities throughout New England. AbilityPlus operates programs at Mt. Snow, Waterville Valley and Attitash, in addition to its affiliate programs at Stowe Mountain Resort, Gunstock, Crotched Mountain, Wachusett Mountain and Nashoba Valley.

Programs made possible by AbilityPlus and its ski-area partners help individuals with disabilities participate in outdoor recreation within a supportive, boundary-free environment. Participants are provided the opportunity to conquer physical, emotional and cognitive challenges, build self-esteem and confidence, and consequently strengthen the quality of life for themselves along with their friends and family.

Our athletes' visible determination, satisfaction and success all help to eradicate preconceived notions about the disabled, as people see and respect their character and tenacity.

Mike Dolan, one of last year's scholarship recipients, wrote us to say, “I was active snowboarding every winter since I was young. When I had my accident (that left Mike paralyzed from the neck down), my life changed in all areas. Last winter, when we got all the snow, I felt down because I really, really wanted to be on the mountain. My mom called Stowe Mountain Resort and I applied for and received an AbilityPlus scholarship. The first day in the snow, my spirits were lifted and I felt really, really good and loved my experience. The instructors were professional and made my day fun and I was one with the mountain again. I gained confidence only because of the instructors, my being welcome at the mountain and my feeling that I can still snowboard!”

In addition to our founding sponsor Trapp Family Lodge, I would like to extend my appreciation to our major sponsors Rome SDS and Darn Tough Socks, and contributing sponsors Concept 2, Green Mountain Coffee, Hannaford, the Stowe Reporter, Tom Hubbs, the Dawn Patrol, and Stowe Mountain Resort, for making it possible for us to support people like Mike.

In addition to Mike, we awarded scholarships to Jordan Carrell and Jack Clark last season.

Anyone interested in applying for a scholarship for this season should contact me through the ski school for additional information and an application.

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