Wednesday, December 18, 2019

HITTING THE SLOPES: Adaptive Skiing in the U.S.A

There are several programs in the U.S. geared to helping those with special needs to learn how to ski or even just to go out for a day of fun on the slopes with a couple of professional guides.

Fair warning, though...these programs can be very expensive. Count on spending well over $100 per day. Still, probably more fun than Disneyland which would cost just as much.

There are a few organizations and charities that might be able to lower the cost via scholarships and charitable funding. In my area, Southern California, Ability First organizes a ski weekend camp in the San Bernardino Mountains and Casa Colina in Pomona also offers ski trips for those with special needs.

Here is the start of our list of adaptive programs in the United the program of your choice for costs and information. Click on links to visit each one.


Challenge Alaska runs an adaptive ski program at Alyeska Resort near Anchorage.
Eaglecrest Ski Area near Juneau has a program.


The Arizona Snowbowl offers adaptive skiing near Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon.


Lake Tahoe Area -
Alpine Meadows at Lake Tahoe has one of the older, more established adaptive programs around.
Heavenly Valley now has an adaptive program.

Bear Valley, east of Sacramento, has an adaptive program.

The U.S. Adaptive Recreation Association is based at Bear Mountain in Big Bear, 2 hours east of Los Angeles
Skiing legend Nic Fiore started the ski school at Badger Pass in Yosemite National Park and it carries on in his name.
Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra runs the program at California's most popular ski mountain, Mammoth.
In Wrightwood, just north of San Bernardino, Mountain High has an adaptive ski school.


Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center has programs at both Breckenridge and Keystone ski areas.
Crested Butte offers adaptive skiing provided by the Adaptive Sports Center.
Durango Mountain Resort has a program run by the Adaptive Sports Association, which also offers scholarships.
Steamboat Springs is a great ski area and they have an adaptive program.
National Sports Center for the Disabled runs the program at Winter Park.


Ski Sundown in New Hartford has one of the more affordable programs in the country.


Recreation Unlimited runs the adaptive program at Bogus Basin near Boise.
Higher Grounds runs the adaptive program as Sun Valley.
One of my favorite Idaho ski areas, Scheitzer, also has a program.


In Lawrenceburg, Perfect North has the adaptive program.
Paoli Peaks in Paoli offers an adaptive program.


If you're near Dubuque, Sundown Mountain Resort can help you out.


At Sunday River, the program is run by Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation.
Maine Adaptive also runs a program at Sugarloaf Resort
Wachussett Mountain in Princeton offers an adaptive program.


Michigan Adaptive Sports runs programs at Pine Knob, Schuss Mountain, and Crystal Mountain.


Giants Ridge offers an adaptive program near Duluth and Grand Rapids.
Also near Duluth, Spirit Mountain offers a program run by Courage Center.
In Makato, the Mankato Area Adaptive Ski Program runs a program at Mount Kato.


Snow Creek in Weston offers a program for the Kansas City area.


Is there a better place to ski than Big Sky? Don't know, but there can't be too many and they're open to adaptive skiers too.
Near Bozeman, Bridger Bowl has an adaptive program.
In Whitefish, you can go adaptive skiing at Whitefish Mountain.


See Lake Tahoe Area under California, above.


In Gilford, you can find an adaptive program at Gunstock.
New England Disabled Sports runs a program at Loon Mountain.
One of the oldest adaptive programs is the New England Handicapped Skiers Association at Mount Sunapee.
In the Mt. Washington area, Atitash has an adaptive program.
Waterville Valley has a free first timer program for adaptive skiers.


Ski Campgaw is your spot for adaptive skiing in the Garden State.


Near Ruidoso, Ski Apache has an extensive adaptive program.
One of the world's great mountains, Sandia Peak, has a program run by the Adaptive Ski Program.


Near Lake Placid, Belleayre has an adaptive program as does Whiteface Mountain.

Up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, you can find adaptive skiing at Beech Mountain and Cataloochee Ski Area.


Near Minot, Bottineau resort has Annie's House for disable skiers.


Near Mansfield, Snow Trails offers an adaptive program.
In Zanesfield, Mad River offers a program run by The Adaptive Adventure Sports Coalition.


Near Bend, Mt. Bachelor offers a program run by Oregon Adaptive Sports.
In Coburg, Hoodoo offers adaptive skiing.
Remember "The Shining?" Well, another of the world's great mountains welcomes special needs skiers...Mt. Hood.


Near Mercersburg, Whitetail has an adaptive program run by Two Top Adaptive Sports.
Pennsylvania Center for Adaptive Sports runs a program at Camelback Mountain near Tannersville.

Near Sioux Falls, Great Bear Recreation Park offers adaptive skiing.

The National Ability Center runs one of the country's premiere adaptive programs at Park City.
At Snowbird, a little south of Park City, Wasatch Adaptive Sports runs a program.

Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports hosts an adaptive program at Bolton Valley.
Stowe Mountain Resort caters to special needs.
Near Warren, Sugarbush runs an adaptive program.

Near Lovingston, Wintergreen Mountain is your destination for special needs skiing.

Mt. Spokane offers "therepeutic recreation," including adaptive skiing, run by the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department.
Closer to Seattle, Mt. Baker offers adaptive skiing.

Snowshoe Mountain offers adaptive skiing as does Silver Creek Resort in the same area.

In East Troy, at Alpine Valley Resort, Southeastern Wisconsin Adaptive Ski Program operates.

Many consider it the best ski mountain in the world, special needs skiers can also find a home at Jackson Hole.

If you live near snow in the U.S., chances are you live near a program. Give it a shot!

Happy skiing...

Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved


  1. Great list of programs, thank you, Darryl!

    Colorado also has the awesome Adaptive Sports Center in Crested Butte, and Winter Park's National Sports Center for the Disabled.

    Downhill skiing gets all the glory, but is also the most expensive. Nordic (cross-country) skiing is also a great sport and is generally much less expensive.

  2. Thanks, Katja. I've added those two areas. This list was a huge job to research and prepare so, for now, I'll let someone else focus on the Nordic skiing.

  3. It's pretty safe to assume that most of these programs include both downhill and crosscountry - I just mentioned it since you called out the cost specifically.

  4. Great Article! We want to make sure all of your readers know that while adaptive skiing and snowboarding can be expensive, many adaptive organizations, like the National Ability Center offer robust scholarship programs. At the NAC, all you have to do is apply! We also have an onsite lodge, so once you get here, we can ensure the cost to participate in any of our programs is within your reach! Here's a link to our scholarship application: