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By Dominique Gatto
At Vermont Adaptive, we like to get outside, we like to play and most of all we like to share our passion for adventuring the Green Mountains with others. Since partnering with Zack’s Place, we have been able to do just that.
Zack’s Place is a community enrichment center for pre and post graduates dedicated to exploring culture, education, business, and fitness while developing bonds of friendship. Every Tuesday beginning in January, Vermont Adaptive volunteer instructors meet up with Zack’s Place participants to get outside and hit the slopes. In the summer, they head to Silver Lake in Barnard for canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and biking.
When the partnership began, many participants had never skied before and were hesitant. With a little bit of practice and help from Vermont Adaptive’s instructors, it didn’t take long for participants to get in the groove with the rhythm of the snow-covered mountain at Suicide Six in Woodstock, just a short drive away from Vermont Adaptive’s state headquarters at Pico Mountain.
“Every Tuesday the Zack’s Place participants look forward to meeting with Vermont Adaptive for a day of skiing,” said Dail Frates, executive director and co-founder of Zack’s Place, which is named for her stepson, Zack Frates.
Each Zack’s Place participant is paired with an instructor to get them in proper adaptive equipment and out onto the slopes. Once they are ready and out on the snow, participants spend time learning how to get on and off lifts, stop, turn, and ski. The fun continues inside the lodge, especially on colder days when participants come inside during breaks to enjoy a warm hot chocolate and cookies.
“We have five participants in bi-skis, we have a walking ski, and we have participants that freeski, some tethered and some on poles with assistance,” said Frates. “The accomplishments are huge from just being able to walk in ski boots to zooming down the hill with shrieks of joy. We cherish our Tuesday ski days. And a great big thank you to Suicide 6 for hosting Zack’s Place for free.”
For more information about our partnership with Zack’s Place and to become involved, contact Vermont Adaptive program coordinator Tom Alcorn at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Zack’s Place website for year-round adaptive sports information.