On January 11, people who rely on wheelchairs to get around will be able to cross-country ski for free at Rikert Nordic Center in Ripton. It’s Winter Trails Day, a Vermont tradition that encourages beginner skiers to enjoy winter in all its glory with free lessons and passes at Nordic and snowshoe resorts. This year’s outreach expands beyond traditional skiers and snowshoers to aspiring athletes working against the odds. Rikert will make three sit-skis available, and NDAA will provide additional equipment, instructors and lessons for athletes with disabilities.
“Accessing the Vermont woods in winter via Nordic trails means so much to me,” said NDAA founder and Nordic sit-skier, Patrick Standen, who is a member of the council. “Being able to share that experience with other Vermonters makes it even more meaningful and it fits in with the mission of the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness wonderfully. We are hoping that young Vermonters will try adaptive Nordic skiing, and discover a lifelong, healthy passion.”
A collection of adaptive sit-skis paired with trained instructors will be available at Rikert Nordic Center throughout the day. Space and equipment is limited so reservations are preferred. Please contact NDAA at 802-862-NDAA (6322) or the Rikert Nordic Center at 802-443-2744 for details or to register.
Additional locations will also offer Nordic skiing and snowshoeing free to beginners using traditional, nonadaptive equipment on Winter Trails Day on Saturday, January 11. The inventory of snowshoes, skis and lesson space is limited. Contact participating ski areas to verify details and availability, and learn more at snowlink.com. Also, find more Nordic events throughout the season at skivermont.com.
Winter Trails Day is a national program endorsed by Ski Vermont and the Governor’s Council; it encourages children and adults to discover the great fitness and social benefits of these fun, easy-to-learn winter sports. Olympic Nordic skier and Vermonter Andy Newell also supports the Winter Trails initiative.
“It’s beneficial for Vermonters’ health and overall well-being to be physically active year-round and Vermont is a prime winter playground for residents and visitors who aim to learn a snowsport,” Vermont Dept. of Tourism and Marketing Commissioner Megan Smith said. “Also, as a parent and former fitness instructor, I’m delighted that the Council encourages residents of all ages to take advantage of our state’s outdoor opportunities for fun and fitness.”