While the majority of resorts make a point of taking care of their physically challenged guests by providing them with additional services, a resort in Maine has been running a programme that has been helping handicapped people to enjoy the thrill of physically-demanding sports.
The resort, Sunday River, in Maine, has been adapting to the needs of disabled people who want to ski. The resort has adapted its facilities to the changing needs of various kinds of skiers, and it is now commonplace to see people of all abilities skiing in the area. Even those with severe disabilities, like blindness, have been able to ski in the resort, thanks to programmes that are specifically designed to assist them. The area’s skiing programme has been adapted to the needs of skiers of all abilities for more than three decades.
Judy Sullivan of Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation, said, ‘It serves so many people in so many ways. It’s not just a physical activity, it’s a social activity, a family type program. Once you’re here, you feel like family. You have lots of friends, lots of support. Cancer, amputee, MS, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries, visual impairments, hearing impairments, the range is huge.’
The programme, Maine Adaptive (maineadaptive.org), which is available at the resort, relies on the services of more than 400 volunteers and a roster of approximately 300 skiers. They advise and assist skiers who are disabled. However, disabled skiers that wish to enrol need to obtain their doctor’s consent.
Organisers are offering the cost of the lift pass, lessons, equipment and even some items of specialised ski clothing, free of charge. Skiers do, however, have to arrange for their own hotel accommodation, and with the resort becoming so popular with people of different abilities, several properties in the area have rooms that are accessible to the physically challenged.