Our mission is to ignite personal growth, independence, and confidence in people with disabilities on the Front Range, and in surrounding mountain and Northern Colorado communities, by providing caring, safe, and fun adaptive winter snowsports opportunities.
Over forty years ago, a small group of passionate people saw an opportunity to enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities by providing them access to Colorado's great winter sport of skiing. In 1975, this dedicated group gained permission from Eldora Mountain Resort to offer an alpine skiing program for 10 disabled students from the University of Colorado. Since then, Ignite Adaptive Sports (formerly Eldora Special Recreation Program) has grown into a volunteer team of over 200 people, providing over 1000 lessons to nearly 250 people living with disabilities in Colorado.
Outdoor sports enthusiasts of all ages and disabilities are welcome to take part in Ignite's nationally recognized programs. The Ignite team truly believes disabled individuals leave their private lessons with enhanced self-esteem, improved relationship building skills, and a willingness to take on new challenges in life. As confirmed through the use of participant surveys, the programs we offer help individuals re-develop self-worth as they connect with a supportive community and find the confidence to take on life off of the mountain.
Great advances in adaptive sports equipment technology combined with a reduction in the stigmas associated with disabilities have led to the tremendous growth of Ignite's programs. To support and enhance this expansion, Ignite has recruited more volunteers and established a systematic instructor-training program over the last few years. Training includes not only skills-based adaptive instruction techniques, but also education about specific disabilities and training on how to effectively support students with varying degrees of needs. Each on-snow instructor receives excellent and thorough training from the Ignite staff. Additionally, in 2013, 27 instructors trained for and received certifications from the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) and American Association of Snowboard Instructors (AASI). This brings Ignite's total number of PSIA/AASI certified instructors to 54.
Ignite makes it a priority to keep programs affordable for all participants. Our organization has scholarship opportunities available to both groups and individuals who meet the requirements set by the scholarship committee.
Ignite is the only comprehensive program located along the Front Range and the only program in the state that is accessible by the RTD public transportation system.
From a Parent:
"I love it!" - that's what my daughter shouts with joy about sit-skiing with Ignite Adaptive Sports. Given my daughter's difficulties accessing sports and leisure, that joy is an absolute treasure. Thank you Ignite. Your staff and volunteers are amazing! Jill Tappert Mother of Young Lady with Multiple Disabilities Boulder, CO
From a Parent:
"I have a son, Andrew (AJ), who has been instructed by Annette two times in the last month. I just wanted to thank her for the experience she has provided for our son. He loves skiing! "
From a Student:
"I am a 37 year old disabled veteran. I was hit in the back with a piece of a weapon that was being disassembled incorrectly in 1995. My experience with this program is nothing if not thankful. I see the effects that the instructors have on the participants. Their knowledge, skill, and compassion are above reproach. My quality of life has improved because of this program. I can now spend more time with my husband who loves to ski, but hasn't because I did not know how.
Ignite Adaptive Sports is a wonderful program that understands the physical and mental needs of people with disabilities and/or life challenges. "
From a Student:
"I am incredibly grateful for Ignite. The first time I went skiing with Ignite was unforgettable. I felt a sense of freedom, independence, and strength that I hadn't experienced in years since my illness progressed. Ignite has taught me how to advocate for myself, including asking for help when I need it. I hope that all disabled and children in our community who want to can experience snow sports."
From a Student:
Dear Ignite Scholarship,
"Thank you very much for the award of a skiing scholarship for the 2016 ski season at Eldora. This scholarship will enable me to continue to improve my skiing skills. I enjoy skiing more than any other recreational or sporting event that I participate in and I can't wait until the skiing season begins! Since I am disabled the only way I have the opportunity to ski is in your program and I would be unable to participate if it was not for your generous award. Thanks to this award, I will be able to improve not only my skiing skills but also my physical conditioning, opportunity to meet and socialize with wonderful instructors and other skiers and improve my emotional well being."