Breaking Barriers with Adaptive Sports in Vermont

Adaptive Skiing

Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports is a community partner. In this blog, learn more about their mission and how to get involved.

Staying active throughout the year, especially during our bone-chilling winters, can be a challenge for anyone. Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports makes it achievable for those with disabilities.

“Sports and recreation provide a physical, mental and social experience that is immeasurable in promoting self-confidence and independence in an individual,” shares Kim Jackson, Director of Communications at Vermont Adaptive. “Human connections are made through the love of sport and barriers are removed so that everybody can play outside together.” 

To put it simply, “adaptive sports” are sports for every body, using equipment and techniques to help level the playing field for people with disabilities.

Visually impaired child skiing with guide

Examples of Adaptive Sports

Vermont Adaptive’s program list grows each year, and they offer customized programs to suit specific needs. Popular programs include:

  • Skiing: Alpine & Cross-country
  • Snowboarding
  • Snowshoeing
  • Cycling
  • Mountain Biking and Adaptive Mountain Biking
  • Veterans Programs
  • Kayaking and Canoeing
  • Stand Up Paddleboarding
  • Sailing
  • Hiking
  • Indoor Rock Climbing
  • Ice Climbing
  • Therapeutic Horseback Riding
  • Beeper Baseball

Impact of Adaptive Sports

Finding ways to level the playing field can have a profound effect on those participating, as well as those facilitating.
Jeff Alexander, Director of Partnerships and Business Development at Vermont Adaptive, recalls an adaptive mountain bike lesson with a wheelchair user from Washington, D.C. who came to the Green Mountains seeking adventure.

“We rode most of the morning and stopped deep in the woods for a water break. During our break, we paused to enjoy the silence,” Jeff shares. “He turned to me and said, ‘Thank you - I have not been this deep in the woods since my accident.’ I started to well up.”

Jeff claims that he had never cried mountain biking before, but that this expression of gratitude hit him hard and reinforced his passion for making sure everybody can recreate in Vermont.

Get Involved in Adaptive Sports 

Hundreds of adaptive sports organizations exist throughout the nation, varying in what they offer. Vermont Adaptive takes advantage of all the natural beauty and terrain our state has to offer with year-round locations at beloved ski resorts, lakes, trails, bike paths, rock climbing spots, and more.

Group of Vermont Adaptive volunteers and participant

Try an Adaptive Sport

“At Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports, we offer programs for anyone with any ability and serve people with physical, emotional/behavioral and neurodiverse disabilities including cognitive and developmental disabilities,” shares Kim. “All ages are welcome and Vermont Adaptive provides scholarships if needed so that no one is turned away based on the ability to pay.”

If you’re interested in trying an adaptive sport, Kim recommends that you visit their website and fill out a client profile. From there, a program coordinator will reach out.


Vermont Adaptive is always looking for volunteers (of all ages!) to help those with disabilities enjoy sports and recreation daily. Those interested in volunteering can sign up at any time of year by filling out a volunteer application on their website. All Vermont Adaptive volunteers are required to complete mandatory orientation and training for their approved sports after their application is approved. Additional free first aid and emergency trainings are available for volunteers.


You can also support the organization by donating at any time of year. “We have an extensive fleet of adaptive equipment that must be maintained and added to, which is costly,” adds Kim. “A sit-ski can cost up to $5,000 and an adaptive mountain bike can be nearly $10,000, so all donations are critical to ensure we have the right equipment for all types of abilities.” 

Spread Awareness 

Tell your friends about adaptive sports! By spreading the word about available programs, more funds can be raised, more volunteers will apply, and more Vermonters can benefit.

Whether you can offer time, talent, or treasure, Kim says that Vermont Adaptive embraces people from all walks of life to join and grow their community.

Support Vermont Adaptive at Snow Days Events

“Last year’s [Snow Days] event at Mountain Top Inn happened to be held on one of the most beautiful days of the winter,” shares Lexi Moore, Major Gifts Officer at Vermont Adaptive. “There was a bluebird sky with temperatures perfect for Snow Days fun.”

This year, we are partnering with Vermont Adaptive again for our annual Snow Days event. You can join us in-person at one of our three free events at local mountain resorts, or you can participate virtually via social media. 

Whether you ski, snowshoe, ice-skate, go sledding, or shovel your driveway, we want to see how you stay active in the winter! Post your Snow Days photos to Facebook or Instagram, tagging us or using the hashtag #snowdaysvt from January 27 through February 17. For each photo shared, we’ll donate $5 to Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports.

“We are looking forward to being a part of this community event again this year to share more about adaptive sports and veterans’ programs, talk about the opportunities for students and adults to volunteer, and help put smiles on faces,” adds Lexi.