Providing safe, fun and affordable snowsports opportunities to people with disabilities since 1975.
In This Issue
Watch How Ignite Adaptive Sports is Changing Lives
From a Parent
Season after season, we have walked in the door to be greeted by "Hellos!" from a truly terrific group of volunteer instructors and staff members.  
Every person we have worked with has been kind, accommodating and very attentive to the boys' skills and well-being on the slopes.
-Fernanda Litt
From a Volunteer
Teaching people with disabilities..... Great satisfaction when you can make your student smile! 
-Chuck Haight 
Summer Volunteer Picnic 2013
Stay Connected
Have you liked or
followed us yet?

Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter
Meet Volunteer:
Timothy Jones

Volunteer for 3 years
as Equipment Tech and Alpine Skiing Instructor 

Why do you volunteer?
To share the joys of skiing with the special needs communities and my fellow Veterans and instructors.

If you could be a superhero, who would you be?
Iron Man

In high school you would most likely find me:
In the art department or metals and auto repair shops.

Where is your favorite place to be while at Eldora?
All of my favorite places at Eldora are on the snow!

Describe yourself in one word.

If your life story was made into a movie, what would the title be and which actor
would play you?
"No Challenge Left Untouched" Starring Russell Crowe as Timothy Jones

How do you spend your weekends during the off-season?
Riding my motorcycle through the mountains and canyons... more wind-in-my-face therapy.

Describe your favorite moment or experience while
volunteering with Ignite.
I really don't like to limit myself by choosing a single moment as a favorite, because there are so many. I do love those moments when the student "gets it" and they have perma-grin for a while. There is one that stands out, it was a powder day with Dave (quadriplegic) and we got him the "perfect fit" on his mono ski. He skied like a champ and progressed amazingly!
Ignite Booth at the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Expo in Denver, Nov. 8-10
2013 Expo
From the
Board of Directors
By Paula Galloway, Secretary
Serving on the board of Ignite is a privilege, a challenge, a joy, and a heartache. The past few months have been daunting but have united us - board, staff, volunteers, and students - in the desire to see our program continue. Our charge now is to maintain this keen focus to establish a future for Ignite without losing sight of the joy in every day of our upcoming season.

Following recommended guidelines for non-profits, our Board of Directors now has a policy of term limits to keep our leadership invigorated and fresh. Each member shall serve no more than two consecutive 3-year terms.  

Thank you to Outgoing Board Members 
In the first phase of this new policy, the board has said farewell to the following members.  We thank them for their services!

Lorna Kowal who diligently documented the board transactions as secretary for the last 6 years, and has been with Ignite since the beginning.

Stan Slater who has provided the unique perspective of the student to the board for the last 8 years.

Rick Dyson who provided his legal expertise and wisdom for 2+ years.
Welcome New
Board Members

Welcome to: 
Kathy Coyne & Art Heimbach who both bring non-profit board expertise and a passion for working with people with disabilities.
New Officers
David Levin, president
Jason Pavlovic, vice-president
Cole Jacobs, treasurer
Paula Galloway, secretary

Thank You to
Michael Travis

Michael Travis has been at the helm of the board off and on for the entire life of Ignite.  As he steps down from the presidency we want to give special thanks. Who we are today is due in large part to his passion and vision.

Ignite on Colorado Public Radio
Thank you to Marie Rotter, a mother of a student with autism and previous Ignite volunteer, for sharing her story of Ignite and the positive impact of the program on her family and our community.
Donor Highlight
Thank you Joyce Van Lines for an in-kind donation of $5,000.
We are thankful to all of our donors and will be listing 2013 contributors in the next issue.

Ignite Leadership

Board of Directors 

David Levin

Vice President

Jason Pavlovic


Cole Jacobs


Paula Galloway

Kathy Coyne
Art Heimbach
Phil Nugent
Susan Perney
Jenna Smith
Michael Travis

Executive Director
Finn Murphy

Snowsports Director
John Humbrecht

Veterans Director
David Schadle

Equipment Manager
Stacey Lunn

Lead Administrator
Becci Seuberling

Marketing Director
Joanna Wittig

Donate to Ignite

Season Kick-Off Newsletter
From the Executive Director

Dear Ignite Family,

Welcome to our season kick-off
Moving In Day
Move-in day at Eldora
newsletter. I know that I'm certainly excited to say that it's all good news. As you may know, we're back at our home at Eldora. We moved in last weekend and volunteers and staff have been busy setting up for the 2014 season. (Check out pics below.)

I'd like to address, briefly, the challenges we've faced over the past few months: Yes, they've been filled with uncertainty, and yes, we've had to examine our mission with respect to securing our future. This is true not only for us, but also for Eldora Mountain Resort. We've all been tested as to what our values are and where we want to end up. Happily, regardless of the bumps along the way, we've all decided that providing 'snowsport opportunities for people with disabilities' is what we all want to do and now we're ready to get back to what we do best.  

On behalf of the Ignite Board of Directors, staff, and me, we'd all like to say to all of you we appreciated the input we received and the great patience you have shown.

Our teaching days are filling up fast. If you're a volunteer and haven't filled out your 2014 days, please do so. If you're a student or caregiver, please put in your schedule. We want to be able to serve everyone who wants to enjoy snowsports this winter.

Let's get out there and enjoy the snow at Eldora!

Sign up for Lessons
Student Lessons Begin on Friday, January 3

Registration is open and slots are filling up fast!  If you are a returning student, please log in to the website and get your schedule in. 

If you are new to Ignite and would like to learn more about lessons, visit our students page on the website or contact our schedulers at [email protected] or 303-506-6738 or 303-506-0927. 

We're happy to answer any questions you may have!
Training Clinics
 On-Snow Clinics Begin December 14

Practicing with outriggers
Thanks to Michelle Willix for providing
our first volunteer training clinic of the season on post traumatic stress disorder on December 2.

If you are a returning volunteer, be sure to log in to the website to sign up for your two required training clinics, which will begin on December 14. We encourage you to cross-train this year, so check out clinics in different disciplines. Fill out your teaching days too while you're there so we can schedule the season!
PSIA-AASI-Logos-Vertical Volunteer Timothy Jones
 Received PSIA Certification

Last season, Ignite fielded a record-breaking team of instructors who studied, trained for and earned their certifications from the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) and American Association of Snowboard Instructors (AASI).  
We want to send a big shout out to Ignite volunteer Timothy Jones, who we mistakenly omitted from the list of certifications in our last newsletter! Read all about Timothy below in our segment highlighting a volunteer. Sorry we missed you Timothy!
Colorado Gives Day - Thank you
Thanks to everyone that donated!
Colorado Gives Day 2013
We're tallying the amounts that came in for Colorado Gives Day, 12.10.13. 

A big THANK YOU to everyone that donated.  We'll keep you posted when the final numbers come in.

If you weren't able to donate on Colorado Gives Day, but would still like to make a donation, we will gladly accept your gift!

Donate here. 

Outdoor Books for Sale
All proceeds benefit Ignite. Makes the perfect gift!

Snowshoe Routes Colorado's Front Range
$24.95, By Alan Apt, Second Edition (CMC Press)
Includes 85 trails for snowshoeing or back-country skiing, and beautiful color photos and maps.

Afoot and Afield in Denver, Boulder
and Colorado's Front Range

$19.95, by Alan Apt, (Wilderness Press)
Includes 170 hiking trails, and is a nicely designed book and maps.

To purchase a book, contact Alan Apt at [email protected].  He'll bring a book up to World Headquarters for you to pick up.
Adaptive Equipment 101
by Stacey Lunn, Equipment Manager

Ignite is unique in that, unlike many other adaptive programs, we own all of our own equipment.  By having our equipment in house, we can efficiently fit students and rapidly re-configure the setup throughout the day if adjustments are needed. 

Adaptive equipment provides different levels of assistance to various types of skiers and riders:

Equipment for Standup Students

We have alpine skis (76 pairs), Nordic skis (44), snowboards (30), and snowshoes (15), for use by standup skiers/riders.  These students may be visually impaired (VI), have autism, cancer or other cognitive and developmental impairments, just to name a few. Other adaptive equipment can be used with standup students such as tip clamps (keeps tips of skis together), tethers, VI vests, bamboo poles and hula hoops.

Equipment for 3 Track, 4 Track, Slider & Rider Bar Students

Student skis with alpine slider
while tethered to an instructor.

This equipment category assists those with balance and strength issues which may be due to, but not limited to, an amputation, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, or stroke.

Standup outriggers, modified ski poles with short skis on the end, can be used to assist a student with a leg amputation. This is 3 Track skiing as the skier uses one full size ski and two handheld outriggers. Outriggers also assist those with balance/strength concerns for alpine skiing (4 Track) and snowboarding.

The slider, also knows as ski legs, and the rider bar, used in snowboarding, provide maximum support for those students with more extreme needs for balance and strength concerns.

Equipment for Sit-down Skiers

This category includes bi and mono skis which are used for those who are unable to stand to slide on the snow.

The bi ski is a sit down piece of equipment with 2 skis attached to the seat.  We have 3 different bi ski models to accommodate students' needs, with a total of 8 adult and 2 juniors.  The bi skier typically is an individual with a higher level of spinal cord injury, severe lack of core strength, balance issues and could include things such as traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis or muscular dystrophy. Generally the bi ski is tethered to an instructor, but those with hand held outriggers can become independent

The mono ski is a sit down piece of equipment similar to the bi ski but has only one ski attached under the seat.  We have several brands and styles to suit the students' needs with a total of 7 in our fleet.  The mono skier generally has a lower level spinal cord injury, good core strength and balance.  Mono skiers will use hand held outriggers and may be tethered to an instructor before becoming independent.

If you have further questions on any of the adaptive equipment please feel free to contact Stacey directly at:  [email protected].
Move-in Day Photos
World Headquarters Blank Slate
Wide open World Headquarters
WHQ- Sit Ski racks Almost
Sit ski and equipment racks coming together!
WHQ - Sit Ski Racks
Sit skis back at home at World Headquarters.
Equipment - Boots
Boots galore in the equipment trailer.
Equipment - Boots Home
Boots and skis settling back in.

Equipment - Outside Group Shot
Thanks everyone who came out to help move in! (Not all seen here)

Story from the Slopes
by Connie Eppich
A freak skiing accident put Ignite snowboard instructor Martin Dawson in a wheelchair, but it didn't cripple his spirit.  Within a year he was back at Ignite, adding mono-ski instructor to his resume.

On a Friday morning last January, Dawson, a slender man with a tanned face displaying his love for the outdoors, met with Keith Speckman, to strategize for the day's snowboarding lessons. Speckman, who stepped in as lead snowboard instructor after Martin's accident, expressed concern about getting new instructors up to speed, but Dawson, smile lines radiating from his eyes, gave a thumbs up.  "It's all good," he said in his soft voice.  

Dawson spent the morning mentoring two new instructors as they gave a visually impaired student her first snowboard lesson.  From the start, his style was to quietly observe, occasionally raising his hand to get the instructors' attention when he had a suggestion. When they headed out to the beginner terrain, Dawson wheeled his chair easily over the hard-packed snow.  He popped a wheelie when he hit powder.

Volunteer-Martin-Dawson"People think we're showing off when we pop wheelies, but it's really about getting through tough places," Dawson said.

Dawson has been popping wheelies to get through tough places since he was a toddler.

When Dawson was 16 months old cancer wrapped itself around his heart.  The doctors cut it out, but couldn't get it all.  Dawson got extensive radiation and a ten percent chance of survival.

Dawson credits that near-death experience for his easy-going personality.  ' "People always say that will change you," he said.  "Mine changed when I was a little guy.  I take what's given to me and I try and do what I think is best with it."

On a November day, in 2011, Dawson was skiing at Arapahoe Basin taking some runs before giving lessons. Looking downhill and seeing nobody, he thought, "Sweet, I can really lay into some turns."  He carved one, got some speed up, made two more. On the last, his body position off just a little, his pole dragged, and his back popped.  Feeling light-headed and nauseous, he went inside to stretch, his back throbbing and toes tingling. 

Dawson took his usual place in the front of the lineup for lesson assignments.  But he slumped over his ski poles and said to his boss, "My back doesn't feel too good.  I don't think I can work today."

He laid down on a bench in the locker room and fell asleep.  When he woke he couldn't move his legs.

In those next few hours, on the way to the hospital, waiting to be seen by a doctor, Dawson knew he would be spending his future in a wheelchair.

 He researched therapies for spinal cord injuries.  He did exercises in his hospital bed and laps around the hospital wing in a wheelchair.

The doctors found an exploded artery in Dawson's spine.  The diagnosis was spinal cord infarction.  According to, in very rare cases back injury or exercise can put pressure on the spine so that the core of the spinal disc protrudes into a spinal artery, blocking blood flow to the spine.  The resulting injury to spinal cord nerve fibers causes paralysis.  It is not uncommon for that sudden paralysis to lead to depression.

Speckman joined other Ignite friends visiting Martin at St. Anthony's Hospital.  They ate pizza, told stories, and laughed for two hours.

Dawson tried convincing his doctor to let him out so he could start mono-skiing, saying, "Hey, I've got this release form.  If you want to sign it that would be great." 

Ignite's technical director John Humbrecht took Dawson, in his hospital gown and wheelchair, for walks around Denver.  Humbrecht said,   "Martin had the most incredibly positive attitude I've ever met in anyone who was just suddenly disabled."

Dawson spent four weeks at Craig Rehabilitation Hospital where, he said, "they teach you that every challenge is just a problem to be solved."  

The day after Dawson left Craig, he had his first mono-ski lesson with Ignite, and by the end of the season he was skiing the mountain on his own.

Now he's back, teaching clinics and lessons, from his wheelchair or mono-ski.  Speckman said, "We couldn't have handled all the new [snowboard] instructors without Martin."  

When there is a shortage of snowboard instructors, Martin gives a lesson with ski instructor Dylan Monahan assisting.  The student has a visual impairment, but can follow Monahan skiing ahead.  Dawson watches and each time the student stops, he suggests one thing to fix - lean this way, try using your front leg more on your turns.  The student and Dawson connect with the snow and each other.

According to mono-ski instructor Mark Drake, Dawson is an intuitive instructor, bringing empathy for his students to each lesson.

But it is Martin's attitude toward his injury that most inspires, said Drake.  Spitting in the eye of his disability, he hasn't let his injury define him. 

It's all good.

Ignite Adaptive Sports Mission:
To provide integrated recreational opportunities for people with disabilities that will foster independence through the acquisition of lifetime skills.

Ignite Adaptive Sports | 303-258-1166 | [email protected] |
PO Box 19016
Boulder, CO 80308

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