Profits from this year’s work shop will be going to the Military Adaptive sports program. Retired Sergent Major Pat Viljanen gave us a presentation on this truly amazing program.
Funded primarily with a grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Adaptive Ski Program is sponsored by the New England Nordic Ski Association. The program supports about 20 wounded warriors per week at no cost to the participants. From these programs NENSA maintains development as well as competitive teams. Oddly enough, this is becoming a great winter alternative for those that participate in summer hand cycling.
Many SSD readers will find the biathlon particularly interesting which combines cross country skiing with rifle marksmanship, requiring both speed and accuracy. The adaptive program uses a .177 pellet rifle with scaled targets. The skills remain but the distances and target size are altered.
The competitors use sit skis of various forms that are purpose built for each type of disability. One double leg amputee program participant is even learning to ski with skis that incorporate a walker. These guys get good. Some of them are capable of doing 90 degree hop turns without the aid of poles, they have developed their core muscles so well.
Unfortunately, the VA grant that funds this program has already been cut and additional cuts are on the horizon so the donations from the work shop will be put to good use. For example, an air rifle costs about $3000 and a sit ski is around $1500 each.