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As Lives Change… Ignite Changes Lives

February 12th, 2017


By Drew Prinster

Melanie is a former English teacher, current bi-skier, and future skydiver–but above all, she’s a lifetime adventurer. Her multiple sclerosis severely limits her motor control and speech abilities, but when she’s on the slopes and strapped into her bi-ski, she can go anywhere and inspire anyone.

Melanie tried her first bi-skiing escapade over five years ago when a family member from Estes convinced her to fly out to the Colorado mountains from her home in Chicago. The on-slope wind chill was a blistering -40°F, but even the arctic temperatures couldn’t dull that first day’s adrenaline rush. She was hooked.

Since then, Melanie and her husband Bob have resettled in Estes largely for the access to the Colorado ski slopes and Ignite’s quality instructors. Training was slow at first. She’d ski in intervals of 20 feet between instruction stops, but every 20 feet was 20 feet of freedom. Right away, Bob recognized Ignite as an outlet that “gave her options; she didn’t have to sit in her wheelchair, she didn’t have to be inside, she could actually participate in life.”

Many of Melanie’s fondest memories at Ignite are moments culminating from long-term growth, such as when she first tackled Mule Shoe, one of Eldora’s longest and steepest expert level runs. At other times, however, she’s just along the ride at the trustworthy hands of her longtime instructor Jason. During one of Eldora’s biggest snowfall years, for instance, Jason steered Melanie through moguls that Bob describes as “huge, probably four feet high, and it was like boom boom I could see their heads popping in and out of the bumps.” That exhilaration is what Melanie lives for.

“Melanie doesn’t like anything as much as she enjoys skiing,” Bob says. She usually starts thinking about it around July. She’s tried indoor skydiving and she’s looking into adaptive water skiing to satisfy her excitement craving in the warmer months, but it’s the consistency and care of the Ignite program that she values. She ends every day “grinning ear to ear,” Bob recalls with a hearty chuckle. And today is no different. As Bob lifts his wife from her sit-ski and cradles her thin frame, you can see it on Melanie’s face. A radiant smile, and two steady, gleaming eyes that are already looking forward to next time.

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

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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

Schedule your donation now for Colorado Gives Day

November 1st, 2016

We hope you’ll consider donating this Colorado Gives Day, December 6. As of November 1, you can now schedule your donation and your donation will be partially matched on December 6th! Please visit https://www.coloradogives.org/igniteadaptivesports/overview to donate today. Select the option for “CO Gives Day” to schedule your gift.

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.

Ignite Tonight Gala Recap

November 1st, 2016

Thank you to everyone who supported the Ignite Tonight Gala benefiting Ignite Adaptive Sports! We are pleased to announce that, due to your incredible generosity at the event and our wonderful sponsors, we raised more than $55,000. It was an honor to spend the evening with you, the philanthropic community, and launch our 42nd season at Eldora Mountain Resort. We truly couldn’t do it without you and our dedicated volunteers.

If you enjoyed the short video featuring students Olive and Oscar Shrum, and Jennifer Burden, please watch it again and share it with others!

Check out the event photos taken by our roving photographer Chuck Haight. On the same web page you’ll also find all of the photos from the Photo Booth. They’re hilarious–definitely take a moment to laugh and enjoy them today.

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Video: See the Lives Changed at Ignite

November 1st, 2016

Ignite Tonight Gala on September 23, 2016

June 30th, 2016

Ignite Tonight Small Banner-email

 

On Friday, September 23rd, Ignite is hosting its Gala Benefit to raise money for the adaptive snowsports program we all love and value!

NEW! Thanks to the generosity of CU Athletics, each Gala attendee will receive two CU Buff football tickets to the CU vs Washington State on November 19, 2016!

When: Friday, September 23, 2016 5:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Where: The new Boulder Jewish Community Center, 6007 Oreg Avenue, Boulder, CO

Special Guest Appearance by Adventure Ski Filmmaker: Kurt Miller, founder of Make a Hero Adaptive Sports Films

You’ll Enjoy: Signature Cocktails by Wood’s High Mountain Distillery, Buffet Dinner provided by Spice of Life, Live Music by the Paul Glover Group, Dancing, and Silent and Live Auctions.

Attire: Boulder Cocktail

Individual Tickets: $85
Eight-Person Tables Available: $680

More Auction Items Added! Featuring a Silent and Live Auctions including: Photo Safari for two in South Africa, fabulous vacations in Cabo San Lucas, scenic hot air balloon rides, ski lodging trips, tea with a Camel, a round of golf, ski day with a professional skier, plus many more exciting items!

Get your tickets now for this exciting event honoring the creation of Ignite, which originally launched by CU students!

Thanks to our sponsors — see the full list! 

 

 

Join Achilles Boulder at the BolderBoulder

April 9th, 2016

Hello Ignite Athletes and Families,

For the second year, Ignite Adaptive Sports is partnering with the Achilles Boulder adaptive program at the BolderBOULDER 10K. If you’re interested in racing, walking or coming out to support, we’d love you to join the group!

Here’s what’s being offered for adaptive services by Achilles Boulder:

  • Over-the-phone (or email if necessary) race registration
  • Limited scholarships and 50% discounts available
  • Guide pairing and free guide entry
  • Centralized pre-race meeting tent
  • Race day BIB pick-up
  • Adaptive athlete bag check
  • Guide dog guardians
  • Centralized post-race reserved bleacher section
  • Assistance exiting post-race festivities

If there are additional services required, Achilles Boulder will work with you to make them happen.

Please note that this is a benchmark year being used to determine further investing in an adaptive program for future races.

Please email Adam Mayer or call him at (973) 525-6098 if you or someone you know might be interested in participating at the BolderBOULDER.

Thank you,
Carol Nickell
Ignite Adaptive Sports, Executive Director

Year-End Letter from Board President

April 9th, 2016

Dear Ignite Family,

The 42nd season of Ignite Adaptive Sports is over and Spring is in full bloom down in Boulder. I hope you all enjoyed this ski season as much as I did. I was delighted to participate in the extra day for deaf students to close out the season. Twenty volunteers showed up April 2nd to host 12 deaf children while many of their parents looked on in delight. The day was warm and sunny and with some early morning coaching by Rilee Mielecki on sign language, we were off on a wonderful day of fun in the sun. The kids and parents were all very happy with the day’s lessons. Two of the moms said they would be back next season as volunteers. Hopefully we’ll have some training clinics on the use of ASL (American sign language) next year for the addition of deaf students to our program.

I want to give a huge expression of gratitude to all of our dedicated volunteers and our superb staff who made this season a great success. I was fortunate to work with many of our newer volunteers and juniors by coming up on weekends this year. The spirit and energy of these volunteers has energized our program in an exciting way. Of course I was also delighted to work with our long time instructors who return year after year to provide the best instruction available to the disabled community.

Although the Ignite ski season is over, there are still activities to come. A year-end party on April 30, a summer picnic in August, and hopefully a fall Gala Event in September are all on the schedule. I look forward to seeing most of you at these events and of course back again in the fall for another great season up at Eldora Mountain Resort.

Finally I want to thank EMR and in particular the helpful lifties who made our forty-second season possible. We could not have provided our excellent services without them.

Warmest regards for a great summer.

David Levin, President
Ignite Adaptive Sports at Eldora Mountain Resort

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