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Ski Buddy program matches special needs skiers with volunteers

Free Adaptive Weekend and Nordic Day round out 2011 winter program calendar

Mt. Shasta, CA -- December 18, 2010 Shasta Disabled Sports USA is hosting their first of two ski buddy training events on Sunday January 9th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Mt. Shasta Ski Park. Volunteers will be trained to buddy up with special needs skiers who wish to enjoy the slopes of Mt. Shasta. A second and final training session will take place Sunday, January 23rd.

The goal of Shasta DS/USA's Ski Buddy Program is to connect trained volunteer who are strong skiers with those with disabilities who may need assistance or are looking for some company while out on the slopes. The program enables members of the community with special needs to reach their greatest level of independence on the slopes, and engenders a sense of adventure and self-determination for participants and volunteers.

Northern California has a sizable disabled population with a high demand for adaptive sports and recreation opportunities, and Shasta DS/USA has filled this niche since 2005. Many of their ski program participants travel from as far away as Shasta, Tehama and Humboldt counties just for the chance to ski on Mt. Shasta for a couple hours with a ski buddy. According to Shasta DS/USA treasurer and co-founder Aaron Beverly, ”Over the past few years we have developed a core group of trained and dedicated ski buddies. But due to growing demand from disabled skiers that wish to experience snow sports, we have a need to increase our volunteer pool.”

The Ski Buddy training events are designed to teach volunteers to become “ski buddies,” who are matched with appropriate disabled individuals on an as needed basis and according to each person's level of experience and comfort. As a ski buddy trainee, DS/USA will instruct you on how to assist skiers with mono-ski and bi-ski equipment as well as how to assist skiers with visual impairments and cognitive disabilities. “We hope more local ski athletes will join us in lending a hand and get involved this season,” says DS/USA secretary and co-founder Donna Boyd. “As part of our program, we help volunteers identify in what way they’d like to help. We work one-on-one with participants and volunteers until everyone feels comfortable and is having fun.”

Ski buddy candidates should be strong skiers comfortable on the green, blue, and black terrain at Mt. Shasta Ski Park. Shasta DS/USA trainers will check you off in one or more ski buddy disciplines of your choice before matching you with a disabled member of the community. Veteran ski buddies are encouraged to attend these training events each year to refresh their skills.

This program is generously supported by the Mt. Shasta Ski Park by providing DS/USA's ski buddies with a free lift ticket for days they volunteer and a lift ticket voucher for another day. Call Shasta Disabled Sports USA at (530) 925-1531 or email them at for more details or to attend either Ski Buddy training event.

Shasta Disabled Sports USA was formed in 2005 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization offering year round recreational and outdoor opportunities to the region’s disabled community.