If the Olympic buzz has you inspired to get off the couch and take to the outdoors to ski, snowboard or ice skate, there is certainly no shortage of opportunities to do so in Pennsylvania. For those with disabilities, there also are a variety of local venues where children and adults can learn a new winter sport.
Here are several adaptive winter sport instructional programs to check out:
Jack Frost/Big Boulder and Camelback Mountain resorts offer full-service adaptive ski and snowboard private lessons with trained instructors and rental equipment for people ages 5 years and older with mobility disabilities, spinal cord injuries , amputations , cerebral palsy , visual impairments and intellectual impairments. Both sites require reservations, and typically only offer lessons on weekends. For Jack Frost  call 570-433-8425, ext. 2503, and for Camelback  call 215-765-5118.
For individuals with visual impairments, autism spectrum disorder  or other developmental impairments , Blue Mountain Ski Resort  offers an adaptive ski program. Reservations are required. Call 610-826-7000, ext. 1225.
Another excellent program for individuals with intellectual impairments to develop winter sports skills is the Special Olympics Program . The organization’s Winter Games include events in alpine and cross-country skiing, figure and speed skating as well as snowshoeing. Visit the Special Olympics website to find out which events are offered in your area.
At this time, there are currently no development programs in the area for people who want to play ice sledge hockey, but discussions are underway to start some programs soon. If you are interested in watching a game, there is a competitive team in Aston, Delaware County, Pennsylvania called the Philadelphia Flyers Sled Hockey Team. This type of hockey is played sitting on a sled that is mounted over ice skate blades. Players use short sticks with metal “teeth” on the top end to push themselves across the ice.
If you are interested in more information on the upcoming Paralympic Games, which begin March 7 in Sochi, check out the website here . The U.S. Paralympics website offers great information on the various winter sports and athletes hoping to compete.
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