One of the founding fathers of the National Handicapped Sports and Recreation Association, Jim Winthers was a tireless advocate of skiing for the disabled.
After serving in the 10th Mountain Division in World War II, Winthers entered the field of physical education. Winthers was a certified instructor and ski school director for 25 years and was one of the first instructors to teach “three tracking,” skiing with one ski and two outriggers. Later he expanded his expertise, instructing people with other types of disabilities, including arm amputees, post-polio skiers and blind skiers. Winthers was recognized nationally as an expert in physical education and received several appointments and awards, including special advisor to the office of the Vice President of the United States for recreational programs in poverty areas.
Since 1980, the National Handicapped Sports and Recreation Association (now Disabled Sports USA) has presented the James R. Winthers Memorial Award to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the organization. Winthers shared his techniques and experience to help others learn to ski and appreciate a lifetime sport.