Heavenly Blog

Adaptive Snowsports at Heavenly

One of my favorite things about working at a ski resort, especially Heavenly, is that everyone is incredibly passionate about the mountain environment and their sport. To us, nothing is more thrilling than sharing that passion with others. That is why we work so hard to offer everyone the opportunity to ski or ride. Within our ski and ride school, we have a specialized program geared towards helping people with various capabilities enjoy snowsports in a fun and safe environment. I recently sat down with some of the reservations staff to learn a little bit more about the Adaptive Ski and Ride program. Here is what I found out:

Q: What exactly is the Adaptive Lesson program? Who does it cater to?

A: Adaptive lessons are basically private lessons geared towards guests with physical or mental limitations. We have numerous instructors certified in a variety of adaptive disciplines who can cater to specific needs.

Q: What is Heavenly able to accommodate?

A: We can accommodate almost every type of disability; the only exception is someone who needs to use a sit-ski and is over 300 lbs.

Q: Do we have specialized equipment for guests? What kind?

A: We do have specialized adaptive equipment—a sit-ski and a mono-ski.

Q: Are there discounted rates on lessons/rentals/tickets?

A: The adaptive lesson is discounted 40% off the regular private lesson cost. If the guest needs to use the sit-ski or mono-ski, that is included in the price of the lesson. If the guest uses regular skis or a snowboard they will have to pay for those rentals on their own. Lift tickets are not included in the price of the lesson but we do offer a $50 limited ticket for beginners if they so choose.

Q: Why do you think it is important to have this type of program at Heavenly?

A: I think it’s important to have this program at Heavenly to give every guest the opportunity to learn to ski or snowboard, whether they have disabilities or not. It can be incredibly fulfilling and rewarding for guests to get out and do something active when they may not generally be able to do so.

Q: Why is it important for guests to take advantage of this program instead of taking normal group lessons?

A: If someone has physical limitations and requires extra help or specialized equipment, a group lesson may not be the best fit. They need instructors who understand their disability and can tailor the lesson accordingly. If a guest has a cognitive disability, there are multiple reasons why they should take advantage of our adaptive program. First of all, the guest generally doesn’t learn at the same speed as the other guests in the group or needs a bit more personal attention. With a private lesson, the instructor can focus solely on one student and give the guest all the personal attention he/she requires.

Q: Anything else to add?

A: Honestly almost every lesson produces some sort of story. We had a 7-year-old girl a few weeks ago with cerebral palsy who got to go out and enjoy the snow for the first time. We have people all the time who never thought they could do something like this but then gain a whole new sense of independence. It is hard to remember specific stories but I can say that nearly every single adaptive lesson that we have set up has gone great and the guests are always super excited about the new skills that they learned.

Q: What is all required to book an adaptive lesson?

A: To book a lesson we will need the Vail Doctor’s Form filled out and faxed back to us at (530) 542-0288. We will also need basic information like birthday, address, e-mail address, phone number, credit card information and guest’s ability level and disability. This way we can find an instructor who is best suited for each particular guest.

For more information or to set up an adaptive lesson, call the private reservation desk at 530-542-6904 or go online.


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