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Kids of all abilities get moving down the slopes at Adaptive Ski Clinic

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) -- The recent snowfall made for a very busy weekend at Sundown Mountain Resort which also hosted a clinic for skiers of all abilities.

Families flocked from across the state to get out on the snow including those with children with visual and physical impairments.

Ryder Drapeau and Tayler Soppe were among the kids who attended an Adaptive Skiing Lesson hosted by Ark Advocates, a non-profit that supports families of those with disabilities.

If it weren't for their vests' you probably wouldn't even notice that Drapeua and Soppe have a vision impairment, both were born legally blind.

Adaptive Ski Instructor, Tayler Soppe, and her mother, Kayla Barnett

Soppe's mom, Kayla Barnett said this was her first time trying out skiing.

"We let them do pretty much whatever they want to try to do, there's a way to do everything it's just a different way," said Barnett, "Once they pick something up they kind of memorize it, it's step by step for them."

This is the fourth year Ark Advocates has hosted an adaptive clinic after trying to expand its adaptive sports program.

"I was kind of nervous," said Soppe.

Luckily for Soppe, Drapeau had tried it once before and gave his friend some reassurance.

"He's done it before so he kind of described it to me beforehand," said Soppe.

Her favorite part was getting to try out the ski lift, Ark Advocate President, Aulanda Krause said that's often the highlight for many participants.

"I think the freedom to experience the big hills and the highlight is always to go on the ski lift if they can do it," said Krause.

The clinic is a chance for participants to push their boundaries and learn anything is possible.

"It helps with self-esteem and independence so they're not afraid to go out in the world and do things," said Barnett.

Ark also uses a sit-ski for those with physical impairments, which gets them moving like never before.

sit ski

Sundown Mountain Resort is busy this weekend with the recent snow fall. Today there’s a clinic for those with different abilities. We’ll tell you more about it tonight.

Posted by KWWL on Sunday, January 26, 2020

Ryder's mother, Rose Drapeau says it's a good way to foster his sense of independence and build his self-esteem.

"I think blindness is only as limited as what the individual makes it. So I feel like if they have people pushing them to try it and move on there's nothing that they can't do," said Drapeau.

"Whether they acquired it due to an accident or birth, all age groups are welcome. We try to support as many people as we can. We have a variety of individuals today, we have people with visual impairment. those with a physical disability such as Cerebral Palsy and Spina Bifida," said Krause, "We also have individuals with autism so we're really trying to build experiences and exposure to a lot of things to a lot of different people."

Lessons and adaptive equipment can often be expensive so the program helps offset the costs for the families through a partnership with Sundown Mountain.
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Ashley Neighbor

Reporter, Cedar Rapids

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