Western Colorado offers nationally acclaimed venues for recreational activities for the children who have the privilege to grow up here. Skiing and snowboarding is an annual tradition, and an important part of the culture of the Western Slope. For children living with a moderate to severe disability, this recreational experience is often unavailable, simply due to the high cost associated with the necessary accommodations to make it safe and enjoyable. As a result, these children are forced to sit on the sidelines and only learn of this Colorado tradition through stories from their classmates, friends, and family. Fortunately for children living with disabilities enrolled in the Montrose County School District, the Montrose Olathe Adapted Sports Program (MOASP) was created to help level the playing field so that all students can experience and choose to participate in recreational activities without facing an undue financial burden.
For the past 25 years, students with moderate to severe disabilities enrolled in MOASP have participated in skiing and snowboarding lessons in Telluride through the Telluride Adaptive Ski Program (TASP). The results for the participating students have been remarkable. Many of the outcomes, such as increased self-confidence, overcoming fear, developing appropriate social connections, and demonstrating socially appropriate behaviors for the environment are not measurable by traditional standards, but are indeed direct benefits to our students with disabilities. Additionally, numerous past participants have exited the school program and continued to enjoy recreational skiing as adults, reinforcing the benefits of the program.