ROCKVILLE, Md. – Disabled Sports USA (DSUSA) will host the 23rd annual The Hartford Ski Spectacular Dec. 5-12 at Beaver Run Resort and Breckenridge Ski Resort, Breckenridge, Colo. The five-day event, sponsored by The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE:HIG), the founding partner of U.S. Paralympics, is the nation’s largest winter sports festival for individuals with physical disabilities, planning to bring more than 800 participants ranging in ability from first-time skiers to members of the U.S. Adaptive Ski Team (USAST). Also attending will be more than 100 wounded warriors and their families. One of the many youths participating will be Ornichleel (Le-all) Ulysse, 10, from Port au Prince, Haiti, who had her right leg amputated below the knee due to an injury in the January earthquake there.
“For the 17th consecutive year, The Hartford is proud to sponsor this important program that’s been a birthplace of U.S. Paralympic champions,” said Ron Gendreau, executive vice president of group benefits at The Hartford. “The Hartford’s Ability Philosophy will be displayed by the wounded warriors learning to ski, youth skiers improving their racing abilities, and U.S. Paralympians demonstrating their elite skills at this amazing event. We hope Le-all and all who hit the slopes at The Hartford Ski Spectacular will be inspired as much as they inspire us. They help us see that people with disabilities can do anything.”
Programs offered at The Hartford Ski Spectacular help to strengthen and expand adaptive ski programs in communities throughout the USA; identify and train youth, wounded warriors, and others with disabilities who strive to be winter Paralympians; and help local DSUSA chapters improve their services. A week of ski race training, sponsored by U.S. Paralympics, prepares athletes for the 2011 U.S. Disabled Alpine Ski Championships in Alyeska, Alaska, the 2011 World Championships in Sestriere, Italy, and 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia. The ski instructor academy endorsed by Professional Ski Instructors of America-American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI) offers training for instructors in the latest and safest adaptive ski techniques for skiers with disabilities. “Learn to” programs in alpine and Nordic skiing, Biathlon, and snowboarding are also offered. Chapter training programs in administration, fundraising, social networking, and volunteer training rounds out the agenda.
“Once again we are proud to partner with The Hartford and have the support of U.S. Paralympics and others to offer this premier event for people with disabilities from more than 30 states in the United States and five foreign countries,” said Kirk Bauer, JD, executive director of DSUSA. “The premier facilities of Breckenridge Ski Resort and Beaver Run Resort allow us to offer this wide range of activities to our participants.” Bauer, a disabled Vietnam veteran, recently scaled Mt. Kilimanjaro with two wounded warriors who received their first sports training at The Harford Ski Spectacular.
“DSUSA and their chapters are a critical partner in meeting the need to provide daily physical activity for persons with physical and visual disabilities in communities throughout the U.S.,” said Charlie Huebner, Chief of Paralympics, United States Olympic Committee (USOC). “The Hartford Ski Spectacular creates that spark for people with a physical disability to return home and live an active, healthy life.”
The Hartford Ski Spectacular is sponsored by The Hartford. Additional sponsors include U.S. Paralympics, a national partner of DSUSA; Challenged Athletes Foundation; Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center; Breckenridge Ski Resort; Wounded Warrior Project; Professional Ski Instructors of America/American Association of Snowboard Instructors, United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs; Team Semper Fi; United States Biathlon; Breckenridge Sports; DSUSA host chapter Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center; and supporting chapters National Sports Center for the Disabled, Stride, New England Disabled Sports, AbilityPlus, Inc., Adaptive Adventures, and National Ability Center.
Follow the action at The Hartford Ski Spectacular on Twitter and Facebook. Look for @DisabledSportUS and #skispec on Twitter and Disabled Sports USA on Facebook, as well as @TheHartford on Twitter and Facebook.
About Disabled Sports USA
Founded in 1967 by disabled Vietnam veterans, Disabled Sports USA (DSUSA) provides opportunities for youth, wounded warriors, and others with disabilities to rebuild their lives through sports, recreation and educational programs. DSUSA is a national multi-sport, multi-disability organization serving more than 60,000 youth and adults annually. A member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, DSUSA offers programs through its nationwide network of more than 100 community-based chapters operating in 37 states. For schedules and additional information, visit www.dsusa.org or call (301) 217-9840. DSUSA is a member of the Combined Federal Campaign: 10151.
About The Hartford
Celebrating 200 years of helping its customers achieve what’s ahead, The Hartford (NYSE: HIG) is an insurance and wealth management company. Through its unique focus on customer needs, the company serves businesses and consumers by providing the products and solutions they need to protect their assets and income from risks and manage their wealth and retirement needs. A Fortune 100 company, The Hartford is recognized widely for its service expertise and as one of the world’s most ethical companies. For more information on the company and its financial performanceck, click here.
About U.S. Paralympics
U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympics Committee, is dedicated to becoming the world leader in the Paralympic sports movement and promoting excellence in the lives of people with disabilities. Since its formation in 2001, U.S. Paralympics has been inspiring Americans to achieve their dreams. Through education, sports programs and partnerships with community organizations, medical facilities and government agencies, U.S. Paralympics is making a difference in the lives of thousands of physically disabled people every day. Visit US Paralympics.