The mission of the Adaptive Sports Association (ASA) is to provide outdoor sport and recreational experiences for people with disabilities. These activities are provided regardless of individual financial limitations in an atmosphere for learning and enhancing self-esteem.
Dave Spencer co-founded the winter program in 1983. After his leg was amputated due to cancer, Dave moved to Durango to work as a traditional ski school instructor at Purgatory Resort. His idea of an organization dedicated to people with disabilities was sparked by a woman who also recently had her leg amputated after a water skiing accident. She was so inspired by his courage and spirit after observing him ski, she asked him to teach her. After this experience Dave found that snow skiing and other outdoor sports could significantly challenge self-perceived limitations and increase physical and mental well-being of individuals with disabilities. Although Dave lost his battle with cancer in 1986 at 26 years of age, his dream of an organization dedicated to teaching people with disabilities to ski and participate in outdoor recreation has continued to thrive and expand. ASA's original goal of becoming a year-round sports and recreational program came to fruition in 1997 with the addition of summer programming. Due to the tremendous support of local community members, businesses, foundations and a large number of passionate volunteers, the program has evolved into one of the most highly respected adaptive sports programs in the country.
ASA remains the only year-round adaptive sports program of its type in the four corners region. No other organization in this region offers the adaptive summer sports activities that are part of ASA's summer program. The only other sports and recreational programs for people with disabilities in the area are two small therapeutic horseback riding programs and Special Olympics which focus on team and other competitive sport activities for individuals with cognitive disabilities. There is no overlap in direct program offerings with existing area organizations. The nearest adaptive program is over 2 hours away in Telluride.
"How grateful I am for an opportunity to experience a "sense of normalcy"...opportunties I would have never explored without you making the impossible possible."- Winter Participant
"Through sports we find freedom and self-esteem once lost. Your encouragement and belief that we can overcome and challenge is so important." - Summer Participant
"We are blessed to have had our son be a part of ASA for the last few years and know it will be an experience he will carry with him for life!" - Mother of a Participant
"Thank You for making my dream come true"- Scholarship recipient
" I don't think anyone without a disability can fully appreciate what it means to have part of your life back that you thought you would never see again! Thanks Adaptive!". - Scholarship recipient