Steamboat Adaptive first opened its doors in the late 1970s, offering skiing for people with disabilities on some pretty hair-brained equipment back then! For the following thirty years, Steamboat Adaptive was run by Steamboat Ski Area, sharing funds, instructors, and office space.
In 2007, one of our local adaptive instructors saw the need to transform this program into its own independent nonprofit, and STARS was born: Steamboat Training Adaptive Recreational Sports. A Board of Directors was formed, and by 2009, STARS (now just STeamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports) was sharing in the duties of running some of the annual camp series that Access Anything and Adaptive Adventures had created together in 2006.
In February of this year, STARS hired us as consultants to grow their summer programming, and as you know, we hosted two new camps in addition to the three we had started with Adaptive Adventures. By summer of this year, STARS had banked enough funds to hire employees, and first hired Julie Taulman as the Executive Director. 3-year board member, fastidious grant writer, and mother of a child with a disability, Julie has extreme dedication to the success of this organization.
The next obvious step for STARS was to hire a Program Director, and in late October, STARS offered this position to Craig. Coupled with their team of extremely experienced instructors Liz Leipold (who helped to formulate the first Steamboat Adaptive program), Sheila Farney and George Hurley, they have been spending tireless hours training instructors and continuing to build STARS into the program Steamboat deserves. Many new disability training segments are being covered, and nearly 100 instructors will receive training.
Once initial training has been covered, Julie and Craig will turn their focus to the 6th Annual All Mountain Ski Camp for wounded veterans and adults with disabilities, returning this January 9-13, and following that, the Youth Ski and Ride Camp in March.
This is an exciting time for STARS, watching the program grow independently from the Ski Area's protective nest has been fascinating- the support from locals, response from instructors, and feedback from the clients has been extremely positive. Craig comes home more excited each day with the progress they're making. If you haven't checked out their new office yet in Gondola Square across from the Gondola's entrance, do. It's a nexus of positive activity!
Stay tuned for more reports on the growth of this amazing program and its upcoming camps.