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Ignite Adaptive Sports – 2023 Ski Season
Every winter Nick’s favorite activity (besides shopping) is going to Eldora Ski Resort in Nederland, Colorado and hanging out with the volunteers from Ignite Adaptive Sports for a fun day on the mountain. Nick looks forward to skiing all year, and if you ask him what his favorite thing is during the warmer months, there’s a good chance he’ll still answer “skiing.”
Nick has been a participant with Ignite since 2009 and every year the volunteers continue to be supportive, safety oriented, and kind. They always make sure Nick feels safe and check that he had a good time on the slopes.
For the last couple of years, Kevin Wilson has been the scheduler for Ignite. Kevin is also a person who uses a wheelchair, and a few times this season he joined Nick on the mountain in his mono ski. Kevin goes above and beyond to accommodate participants and volunteers, and makes sure everyone is safe and happy. He’s a passionate skier and Nick thinks his hair is pretty cool. Bring him some sushi, it’s his favorite!
Getting Nick prepped to go out is an intense process, but with Nick’s unique needs it’s important his body is comfortably and safely positioned for his lesson. This involves several different types of pads, straps, and usually a bit of duct tape! Once he’s ready to go, he stays out for 2 hours and goes on a ton of different runs, and even goes on black diamonds and the half pipe! Nick says the ski lift can be a little scary, but the volunteers always talk him through the ride and get him safely to the top.
Check out these videos of Nick skiing with some incredible Ignite volunteers!
One of Nick’s favorite parts of the ski season is his trip up the mountain with Adaptive Recreation Opportunities (ARO) with Fort Collins Recreation. Greg Shaner is one of Nick’s favorite people and a long time friend. He drives the ARO van and its participants up to Eldora for a full day of ski lessons and never loses his upbeat and positive attitude.
Karl, one of the volunteers, a veteran who used to be a participant himself, brings his service dog Red up to the Ignite building with him, and Nick loves seeing Karl and Red!
Nick sometimes comes in from his lesson covered in snow and a little worn out, but he never complains because he had a blast! He always talks about how much fun he had on the ride home. This wouldn’t be possible without the volunteers who come back every year.
Nick loves when he gets to go out with Ignite volunteer Brian, because he knows he’s gonna go fast! Brian takes Nick on the half pipe and even plays music for Nick on his bluetooth speaker! Nick loved listening to the soundtrack to one of his favorite movies, Gigi, while he was racing down the mountain! Thanks Brain!
Bobby is another volunteer Nick loved getting to see several times over the season. Nick thought Bobby was so nice, and he made Nick feel very safe every time they skiied together.
Nick and his team want to thank Ignite Adaptive Sports so much for all they do for all of their participants, from people with with vision loss, to disabled veterans, to participants on the autism spectrum, Ignite works with everyone as an individual with their own unique needs and treats participants and their families with respect and kindness.
Donate to Ignite Adaptive Sport’s new facility!
Ignite is breaking ground on their new state of the art facility at Eldora this month, and Nick would like to ask his supporters to consider donating to their fundraiser by clicking this link. You can also follow Ignite on Facebook and find the fundraiser link there.
Awesome in Action and Dream Catcher Balloon!
Thanks to the amazing work of Captain Crystal and her assistant Stacy, Nick was able to fulfill a long time dream of going up in an adapted hot air balloon in beautiful Wyoming!
Dream Catcher Balloon is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to give balloon rides in an adapted 2 seat custom built “basket” that allows those with mobility challenges or other concerns to fly! Dream Catcher and Captain Crystal work with people of different abilities, veterans, seniors, and anyone looking to have their dream flight. Captain Crystal is an amazing person and Nick’s flight has been several years in the making!
It was an early day, and tensions were high. Would the wind pick up? Would Nick get to fly? After waking up at 5AM Nick watched out the window while Captain Crystal and the team of volunteers including Nick’s family and friends set up the balloon. At about 6:30AM Captain Crystal gave Nick the OK to get down to the launch area and it was on!
Nick got to ride in the balloon twice, and was so excited. He spun around and looked at the beautiful views of the Snowy Range Mountains and the lake while waving his arms in the air and looking down to his cheering family and friends. His favorite part was looking at the horizon!
Events like these give people like Nick who have different abilities the chance to experience things they may not otherwise get to do.
It’s so important to Nick and his team to make connections with other non-profits looking to spread awareness and inclusivity, and we are proud friends of Captain Crystal and the Dream Catcher Balloon team.
To check out more about Dream Catcher Balloon find them on Facebook or at their website.
Nick can’t wait for his next adventure!