Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation, which provides opportunities for those with disabilities to get out and enjoy the outdoors all year long, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote year-round education and training to children and adults with disabilities.

The programs are designed to develop skills, independence and fun through active recreation.

Founded as Maine Handicapped Skiing in 1982 at Sunday River Ski Resort as an alpine skiing program, Maine Adaptive has since expanded its offerings to include snowboarding, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, golf, cycling, paddling, climbing, hiking, tennis, and trail cycling at over 20 venues across Maine. More than 400 volunteers assist athletes with over 3,500 lessons in winter and summer programs, always free of charge.

A MASR skier and volunteer on Sunday River trails. MASR

Sunday River is where it all started for Maine Adaptive. As the organization’s largest partner and benefactor, Sunday River is the center of the organization’s largest winter operations, including daily lessons and specialty programs. Starting right after New Year’s Day through early April, an average of 30 participants aged four and over with disabilities, arrives on a daily basis at the facility next to the Sundance Trail at Sunday River to take lessons in skiing and snowboarding. 

Sugarloaf hosts Maine Adaptive’s skiers and riders each weekend and on selected Fridays. Pineland Farms, the Mahoosuc Land Trust, and Bethel Village Trails host Maine Adaptive’s Nordic and snowshoeing programs.

Maine Adaptive benefits from partnerships with schools, nonprofit organizations, rehabilitation/ facilities and service/care providers to engage interns, volunteers, and people with disabilities throughout New England, including the University of New England, University of Maine at Farmington, Veteran Adaptive Sports Training, Gould Academy, Telstar High School, and the No Limits Foundation.

Beyond the daily general programs, additional specific events and program highlights this winter include:

Veterans No Boundaries winter program: Jan. 24-27

Each winter since 2005, Maine Adaptive brings together disabled veterans and active duty personnel, including their families and caregivers, for an inspiring weekend of camaraderie and self-discovery at Sunday River through the Veterans No Boundaries winter program. The program is open to wounded warriors, active duty personnel and other veterans with permanent disabilities and their families from throughout the country. 

New England Visually Impaired/Blind Ski Festival (NEVI*Fest): Feb. 9-12

Maine Adaptive will be welcoming skiers/riders with visual impairment, their guides and families from throughout the country to the slopes of Sugarloaf Mountain Resort in Carrabassett Valley. The New England Visually Impaired Festival (NEVI*Fest) is designed to create a unique social, recreational and educational experience for skiers of all levels. Skiers/riders will have the opportunity to develop their abilities on all levels of terrain with their own guides or qualified festival volunteers. Skills enhancement will also be available for guides from Certified PSIA Adaptive and experienced clinicians.

Camp sNOw Limits: Feb. 28-March 1

This annual program held in collaboration with the No Limits Foundation and Camp No Limits for children and adults who have limb loss or limb difference. Family members are welcome.

Mono-Ski Training Clinic: March 4-8

Each year Maine Adaptive hosts a multi-day clinic for mono-skiers. This year’s programming will include program days at both Sunday River and Sugarloaf. Clinics are taught by skilled mono-skiers with the goal of improving skiing ability and comfort level in all aspects of the sport.

All-Star Celebration: March 21

Capping off 35 years of Ski-A-Thon, Maine Adaptive will celebrate all-star athletes and year-round stories of success and impact during the All-Star Celebration, to be held at Sunday River.

Training for volunteer instructors

At the heart of Maine Adaptive are more than 400 dedicated and passionate volunteers who donate their time and energy providing adaptive lessons to the people with disabilities they serve. Each fall, Maine Adaptive seeks additional skiers and riders of intermediate or above ability who have the desire to share the sport with others. Training for new instructors takes place in October and November for the winter lesson season.

Maine Adaptive Alpine race team

The Maine Adaptive Alpine Racing Program was started more than 12 years ago to give participants, families and volunteers an opportunity to enhance their experiences and refine their skills through competition, travel and year-round training. The team trains at Mt. Abram on Saturday, with a focus on improving technical and tactical skills both on and off the race course. Maine Adaptive racers compete at the national level and former athletes have gone on to race with the U.S. Adaptive Ski Team at the Paralympics.  

For more information on supporting, participating or volunteering at Maine Adaptive, call (207) 824-2440, email [email protected], or visit maineadaptive.org.

— Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation

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