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Adaptive Ski Program, Lounsbury
The Bill Lounsbury Adaptive Ski Program was founded by dedicated ski school instructor with the backing of Holiday Valley Resort and the ski patrol in September, 1988. Bill Lounsbury, a patrolman and friend, lost a leg to cancer in the 1980s. He was not about to give up his love of skiing. Bill taught himself to ski on one leg and became an inspiration to many.
When Bill lost his courageous battle with cancer, monetary donations came to the Ski Patrol at Holiday Valley as memorials. The money was used to purchase special equipment and start an adaptive ski program to teach mentally and physically challenged persons to ski. The Lounsbury Adaptive Ski Program (LASP) is named in Bill's memory.
In 1988, there were 4 instructors and 14 students. That year 32 lessons were taught. We have come a long way since then, now with approximately 50 volunteer instructors teaching on average 220 lessons per season. All instructors are specially trained in adaptive ski teaching methods. More than half of the instructors are certified by the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA).
The program offers lessons to persons with virtually all disabilities, both physical and cognitive. Examples of some of our more frequently encountered disabilities are spinal cord injuries, Downs Syndrome, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, visual impairment, autism and developmental delay.
Each student is instructed individually with full emphasis on his/her ability, rather than the disability. Results vary, of course, however most are rather outstanding. Our students experience a type of freedom and excitement. Many gain new confidence to tackle other activities.
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