Athletes with disabilities hit the slopes skiing

Ski Cup showcases big hearts and even bigger skills

Whoosh! Colorado’s National Sports Center for the Disabled boosts athletes at its annual ski event and through other activities all year long.

February 25, 2016

The National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD), a nonprofit based in Winter Park, Colorado, provides therapeutic recreation, competition, and adaptive sports for more than 3,000 children and adults with disabilities.

The organization raises about $225,000 of its program and operating funds through individual and corporate donations made at the Wells Fargo Ski Cup, a weekend-long event held every February and now in its 41st year.

The Wells Fargo Ski Cup brings together the world’s top skiers with disabilities, amateur skiers, and snowboarders for a weekend of skiing and fun — all in support of the nonprofit.

“We are grateful for the support and use it to bring our mission — to enable the human spirit through sports and recreation — to life every day,” says Becky Zimmerman, president and CEO of  NSCD.

That mission comes to life year-round through adaptive technologies that allow people of all abilities to participate at NSCD. It offers a variety of sports and recreational activities, including kayaking, canoeing, horseback riding, mountain biking, rock climbing, skiing, and more.

One of the participants is U.S. Army veteran Michael Plourde II, who says he feels at ease while paddling down a river. After three combat tours and 10 years as an Army medic, the 34-year-old began kayaking with NSCD as a way to rehabilitate from injuries sustained during his military service.

“Kayaking has been therapeutic, and NSCD has helped me connect with a community of people like me,” says Michael, who started working with NSCD as a seasonal employee as a way to help others. “I’m thankful for the funding that comes through the Ski Cup. There are some incredible people here, and we wouldn’t be able to do this without their support.”

Contributors: Steve Kline
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