The Hartford Disabled Sports USA Ski Spectacular returns next week to Breckenridge | SummitDaily.com

The Hartford Disabled Sports USA Ski Spectacular returns next week to Breckenridge

Mono-skiers take off downhill at Breckenridge Ski Resort on Dec. 7, 2017 as part of The Hartford Ski Spectacular festival.

Next week at Beaver Run Resort and Breckenridge Ski Resort, Disabled Sports USA's The Hartford Ski Spectacular will return to Breckenridge for the 31st time.

The week-long event is among the nation's largest winter sports festivals for individuals with physical disabilities. More than 800 participants are expected to attend this year, ranging in ability from first-time skiers to members of the U.S. Paralympic Team, including Mike Schultz and Noah Elliott, who medaled for Team USA at the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Also participating will be more than 100 wounded military veterans, service members, their family members and military medical staff from the U.S. and Great Britain. These wounded or injured service members are coming from across the country, namely Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, San Antonio Military Medical Center and Naval Medical Center San Diego.

"As a veteran who tried limb salvage for 4-plus years and was unable to ski or participate in any sport activity, it had detrimental effects both emotionally and physically on me," retired U.S. Marine Corps Master Sergeant Todd Smalenberg said in a press release. "After undergoing my amputation, you have questions as to what is my new normal, what can I do and what can't I do. Thanks to Disabled Sports USA and Warfighter Sports, you learn that you can do what you always have done, in just different ways, you just have to adapt to some things."

Also participating this year will be survivors severely injured in the mass shooting in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, 2017, including Chelsea Romo, who lost one eye and suffered damage in the other.

"I can't wait to come to The Hartford Ski Spectacular and give snowboarding a try," Romo said in a press release. "I've been through a lot since last October, and this is an amazing opportunity to have fun and learn a new sport."

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As part of the programming offered next week, there will be "Learn to" programs in alpine and Nordic skiing, biathlon, sled hockey, curling, ice skating and snowboarding. In addition to these lessons, The Hartford Ski Spectacular also will work to strengthen and expand adaptive snow sports programs in communities throughout the United States by training staff and volunteers in its National Adaptive Academy.

The Hartford, a founding partner of U.S. Paralympics, is celebrating its 25th anniversary as the title sponsor of The Hartford Ski Spectacular. To celebrate, The Hartford is expanding its partnership with Disabled Sports USA through its new "Ability Equipped" program, which is intended to improve access to adaptive sports and equipment as well as provide grants to more than 20 local chapters across the country.

You can look for @DisabledSportUS and #skispec on Twitter and search "Disabled Sports USA" on Facebook, as well as @TheHartford on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. More information can be found at DisabledSportsUSA.org.

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