Aaron’s Story

November 28th, 2017

After 16 years of skiing and snowboarding in the Colorado Rockies, I knew that attending graduate school in Florida would be different, but I had no idea that I would never descend the mountains in the same way again.

I began skiing from the time my family moved to Colorado at the age of six. As time progressed, my skills increased alongside my love for the mountains. At the age of 16, my curiosity and desire for adventure led me to replacing my skis with a snowboard. I told myself that I would go back and forth between the two, but nine years later I still have not gone back.

After graduating from Colorado State in 2013, I made the tough choice to leave the mountains I loved so much to go to graduate school at Florida State.

Beginning in June 2014, I started having increased difficulty with my sight. On July 3, 2014, my dad and I sat in a doctor’s office and listened as the doctor told us I had a hereditary disease known as Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON), and that my vision would continue to decrease.

Hearing this news was crushing as someone who had 20/20 vision for the first 23 years of my life. By December, I had lost most of my vision and, as there is no cure, my sight has remained there to this day.

I was both excited and sad as I returned to Colorado that winter. I was excited to be with my family and friends, but sad that I would not be able to snowboard ever again. Soon after arriving home, a family friend called and shared that there was a program which would allow me to get back on the mountain, and wanted to know if I was interested.

I immediately and excitedly said yes, and began to wonder how exactly a legally blind individual went about snowboarding. After speaking with members of Ignite, I made plans to go to the resort. My brother and girlfriend joined me at Ignite that day in December 2014 and we met Nick, my instructor for the day.

We spent the morning on the ground practicing the various commands and techniques which we would later use. Eventually, I felt comfortable enough to get on the ski lift and try out what I had learned.

There was a learning curve, and this experience was different than my previous years, but slowly I began to get the hang of it. Throughout the entire day, Nick was an excellent instructor, but more importantly, he was patient, kind, and friendly. Nick and I had gone down the mountain together, with him directly in front of me and my hands on top of his, to guide me down the mountain.

At the end of the day, my brother and girlfriend rejoined me and what they saw not only shocked them but had us all overcome with emotion. Through Nick’s instruction and my previous years on the mountain, I learned to snowboard down the mountain solo while using verbal commands.

After losing my sight, I thought that getting back on the mountain would be impossible, but through the work and instructors of Ignite I was able to recognize just how capable I really am. More of my story and video of that last run can be viewed at my website aaronreistad.com.

Snowboarding with Ignite five months after beginning to lose my sight was the first experience I had which showed me that my sight might have changed, but that did not mean my life had to. Since this experience, I have graduated from Florida State with my Master’s, gained employment with Ohio State, gotten back into hiking, and returned to Colorado in September to hike my 17th Fourteener and the first one since losing my sight. Through my time with Ignite, the fuel of my previously adventurous lifestyle was ignited and I now do not allow my ability to limit me.

~Aaron Reistad

Like Aaron, each year more than 200 people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities benefit from the snowsports activities provided by Ignite Adaptive Sports. Getting up to Eldora and experiencing the joys skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing, is often the highlight of a student’s winter.

“My Hero Brother” Screening Dedicated to David Levin

February 28th, 2017

Volunteers and Supporters – we need you! Please help Ignite and the Boulder JCC honor our very own President of the Board David Levin at the screening of “My Hero Brother” on Thursday, March 16 at 7:00 pm – The Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St.

Volunteers – please wear your Ignite jacket, shirt,. or name tag!

Get tickets

More info

Who Wants a Ginger Ale?

January 13th, 2017


By Drew Prinster

Oriah is a sweet 6-year-old girl with a bright smile and a contagious laugh despite her difficulty hearing. She loves the new Disney movie “Moana” as much as she loves cheetahs. She started out this year skiing at Ignite with the help of tethers and what she affectionately calls a “thing-a-majig,” a modified bungee cord that keeps the tips of her skis together. On her second day, however, she wanted to challenge herself.

At the top of the first slope, she chose to go without tethers, and soon after she was taking the lead, could turn and stop without the “thing-a-majig,” and improved her balance technique when her instructors told her to imagine carrying a tray with cups of ginger ale down the mountain. She was excited for adventure, and wanted to tackle challenges like Fun Gulley and the rollers at the Tenderfoot Terrain Park.

When asked about her favorite parts about skiing, she said “exercise,” “stopping,” or simply “skiing.” Next time she’s at Ignite, she wants to work on “the ski lift!” because “it’s fun, and you get to take a ride.”

As rapidly as Oriah is progressing, she only wants the same for others. Her advice to any kids like her thinking about skiing with Ignite is to “be listening” and “be polite to trainers so that they help you … so they’ll take you skiing. And you want to go skiing, I bet.”

Equipment Has Started for the Season!

November 15th, 2016

bedazzled

Greetings all! As the season approaches the Equipment Manager and several Equipment Technicians and volunteers have been busy.

In early November we spent a day to binding test all alpine fleet skis. We have brought in 25 new Alpine boots, (old boots are available for instructors who need them), along with 15 new helmets. Very exciting, the Sandy Lewarton Memorial bi ski has arrived, the Dynamique-bi-ski. It is a beautiful machine with all the latest technology and features. Photo above.

Annual Deck Repair

A day of deck repairs were done as well in November.

Last week 40 new pairs of Alpine skis arrived which we have mounted and cued up for binding tests. With this replacement plan, most of our Rossingnol ski’s have been taken out of the fleet. Good new for instructors, if you need that short pair of skis for teaching, or your kiddos need skis, we are selling those. They have all been tested so are ready to go do some sliding! Adult skis are being sold for $25.00, youth skis $15.00.

We spent an afternoon reorganizing the fleet but still need need an afternoon to perform binding tests on the new arrivals. We held our first Binding certification clinic and have another one cued up so we will ready for the season.

Still awaiting the Nordic equipment and a new Mountain Man Bi Ski. The new Mountain Man will have the same new shock system as the green one we already have, (the 2 green ones do not need to pressurized, all other Mountain Man sit ski’s including the Junior need to be pressurized), but more good news! We have 2 new pumps that are very easy to use.

Sunday November 13 we welcomed many our new volunteers for Skiing and Riding is Fun in the morning and Equipment Overview and boot/helmet fitting in the afternoon.

That clinic will be offered again November 19th.

To wrap up, exciting preseason work has kept the Equipment folks busy as a bee to prepare for that first round of clinics and then on to lessons!

Think S*N*O*W*!*!*

Stacey Lunn
Equipment Manager

New Equipment

2016 Volunteer Training Clinics

November 1st, 2016

Instructor clinics begin November 12, 2016. Please sign up as soon as possible so we have enough room and leaders!

Just a reminder that all volunteer instructors need two on-snow training days each year.

Please use the Clinic Signup Instructions to select the area you wish to train in and look up your required clinics and videos. Then login (top of website) with your staff login ID and password to update your profile and register for clinics.

Feel free to take extra clinics. The more we know the better we are as instructors. With our disabled veterans program we have the potential of having participants who will be on blue and black slopes, so consider taking one of the advanced clinics in VI and 3T/4T this year. We should also expect more sit-ski participants. Please do think about becoming Bi/Mono qualified!

If you have questions about clinics, please email clinics@igniteadaptivesports.org.

Unless otherwise noted in the clinic:
Morning classroom clinics are from 9AM to 12PM
Afternoon classroom clinics are from 12:30PM to 3:30PM
On-snow clinics are from 8:30AM to 3:30PM (may include lunchtime discussion so bring your lunch)

New and returning volunteers, please direct any questions to volunteer@igniteadaptivesports.org.

The Big Cheese Tops List of Celebrated Volunteers

February 8th, 2016

We are proud to announce that the Big Cheese, John Humbrecht, has been recognized by Boulder Weekly as one of the people in Boulder County that should be celebrated for the community work they do. Not only is he celebrated, he tops the list.

We are very proud of you John!

Read more about John and the other celebrated community members at Boulder Weekly

Special Olympics Training at Eldora Mountain Resort

December 30th, 2015

Special Olympics comes to Eldora and Ignite Adaptive Sports. Join in the Fun!

Special Olympics LogoWe are revitalizing our Special Olympics Race Program! If you are interested in skiing in the Special Olympics Winter games this season, this is the message for you!

We have done some training with the Special Olympics Alpine Race Team and would like to pass on what we learned to our athletes. This includes exercises/drills to improve your skiing skills, preparation for running a racecourse and, finally, practice running the course. The Equipment Manager has purchased several more brush markers to set up the practice activities and race course practice.

Please contact Susan Rodgers at specialolympics@igniteadaptivesports.org if you are interested in practicing racing this season.

Visit Special Olympics Colorado for more information on Special Olympics programs in Colorado.

Caregiver Ski and Ride Class

December 15th, 2015

In the spring of 2015, Ignite Adaptive Sports offered the first our first time ever clinic for parents and caregivers of children with cognitive/developmental disabilities interested in skiing and riding together as a family. Based on feedback we received after that class, we are going for a repeat performance.

Make sure you sign up soon as the available slots will fill up fast.

“The students in the class happened to be three guys, which was a good thing in a sense. If I can ski down and maintain control with a 180 pound guy, I should be able to control the speed of my seven year old girl.” -Bob, father of an Ignite Adaptive Sports Student

Sign up by calling the scheduler at +1 (303) 506-8007 or email her at Scheduler@IgniteAdaptiveSports.org with any questions or suggestions you may have for the class.

Clinic Highlights

  1. Your Abilities: A review of your skiing abilities as it relates to adaptive requirements.
  2. Terrain: How terrain choice can affect a positive experience for your child.
  3. Lifts: A review of lift loading and unloading procedures.
  4. Boundaries: Ski down or call Ski Patrol?
  5. Equipment: Explore adaptive equipment options.
  6. Safety: Learn about safety concerns at ski resorts.
  7. Activities: How to have a great day with your child on the hill.

Instructors

This clinic will be led by two Ignite instructors with over 30 years of adaptive instruction.

Jacque Carbonne Jacque Carbone has been with Ignite for over 30 years and holds a PSIA Adaptive Certification Level II. Jacque is also a registered nurse and has raised her own adaptive skiing family.


Keith JimmersonKeith Jimmerson, started instructing adaptive skiing in 1980 with cross country skiers. He guided one blind racer in the 1984 Paralympics in Innsbruck, Austria. This is Keith’s sixth year with Ignite instructing alpine and cross country skiing. He is a PSIA level one alpine certified ski instructor and has instructed parents with their children in cross country skiing and have seen such joy in their parents eyes that they can now take their own kids out skiing. Keith was one of the instructors in last year’s clinic and observed the same joy in both students and caregivers.

Additional individualized guidance will be provided by other members of Ignite senior staff.

Clinic Details

Price:
$150
Does not include lift ticket.
Lift tickets will need to be purchased at the Eldora Mountain Resort ticket office.
Date:
Sunday, January 24th, 2016
Time:
9:30 AM to 3:00 PM
Location:
Ignite World Headquarters at Eldora Mountain Resort
Availability:
The clinic is limited to 10 participants

Registration

To register please send an email to Scheduler@IgniteAdaptiveSports.org.

We look forward to helping your family be independent on the mountain.

Please call +1 (303) 506-8007 or email Scheduler@IgniteAdaptiveSports.org with any questions you may have.

2015-16 Season Clinics Have Started

November 11th, 2015

The ski season is starting and we at Ignite Adaptive Sports started our first clinics this last weekend.

We ask all volunteers to help us get ready for the season to take at least two on mountain clinics. The more clinics that you take, the better we are prepared for all the wonderful students that we will teach this season.

Do you know someone that would enjoy volunteering with Ignite? Have them get in touch with Michelle at Volunteer@IgniteAdaptiveSports.org.

Pints For The People
Upslope Brewing Company 10/7

September 24th, 2015

Join Ignite Adaptive Sports at Upslope Brewing Company for a well deserved pint or your other beverage of choice on October 7th 2015.

We will have people at Upslope to tell people about Ignite and to socialize. Every pint sold that day will help support Ignite. Let your friends know and help support a local brewer and Ignite at the same time.

Pints for the People at Upslope Brewery, October 7th.

Date

October 7th, 2015

Time

2PM to 10PM

Location

Upslope Brewery, Lee Hill Location

Address

1501 Lee Hill Road, No 20
Boulder, CO 80304

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