The Hartford Ski Spectacular Kicks Off Today - Nation’s Largest Winter Sports Festival for People with Disabilities

Kimberly Greene
Ron Sonntag Public Relations
Phone: (414) 354-0200
E-mail:  Kimberly@rspr.com

EDITOR’S NOTE :

We will have photos and B-roll of Wounded Warriors participating in The Hartford Ski Spectacular beginning Monday, Dec. 5. Please contact on-site media representative Patty Johnson at (414) 788-4915 or Patty@rspr.com for video or digital graphics and to arrange interviews. View a YouTube video of last year’s event here .

The Hartford Ski Spectacular Kicks Off Today - Nation’s Largest Winter Sports Festival for People with Disabilities

December 5, 2011 - ROCKVILLE, Md. - Athletic competition is just one aspect of the activities scheduled for physically disabled winter athletes at the 24th annual The Hartford Ski Spectacular Dec. 5-11 at Beaver Run Resort and Breckenridge Ski Resort, Breckenridge, Colo. Hosted by Disabled Sports USA (DSUSA) and sponsored by The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE:HIG), founding partner of U.S. Paralympics , The Hartford Ski Spectacular provides opportunities for participants to meet and network with other physically disabled athletes and receive training in snow sports as well as to compete in a variety of ski and snowboarding events.

The nation’s largest winter sports festival for individuals with physical disabilities will bring together more than 700 athletes with a range of skills, from first-time skiers to members of the members of the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing National Team. Participants include:

  • Over 100 wounded warriors representing all four military branches and a variety of groups, including Water Reed National Military Medical Center-Bethesda, Brooke Army Medical Center, Naval Medical Center San Diego, Tampa VA, Palo Alto VA, Team Semper Fi, and Camp LeJeune. This year’s event also welcomes back three British service groups, the British Limbless Ex Service Men’s Association (BLESMA), the Rifles Charities, and the Pilgrim Bandits. Some participants will be learning to ski or snowboard for the first time since their injury and some learning advanced training.
  • Disabled youth and young adult racers in training for alpine, Nordic, and biathlon events and the subsequent Paralympics.
  • Sports organizations serving people with disabilities from throughout the country coming to learn about the latest advanced ski teaching and race training techniques.

Classes, seminars, and activities available to athletes and their families at The Hartford Ski Spectacular include:

  • Learn to Ski and Snowboard/Advance Your Skills Lessons for novice participants (Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.)
  • PSIA-AASI National Adaptive Academy continuing education clinics for snow sports instructors (Monday - Friday, 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.)
  • Nordic Ski and Biathlon Training Clinics (Monday - Wednesday, 10 a.m. - noon)
  • Sled Hockey Clinic (Wednesday, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.)
  • Wheelchair Curling Clinic (Wednesday, 1 p.m.)
  • Sled Hockey Exhibition Game with Wheelchair Curling Demo (Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.)

Team and individual races will be held throughout the seven-day event as part of the National Race Festival sponsored by Disabled Sports USA, U.S. Paralympics, and the Diana Golden “Golden Opportunities” Fund. This event features 20 scholarship athletes and is one of the nation’s premier training camps for emerging adaptive ski racers. Taught by the nation’s top adaptive coaches, the National Race Festival is a week-long opportunity to experience race training at the elite level.

Programs offered at The Hartford Ski Spectacular help strengthen and expand adaptive ski programs in communities throughout the U.S.; identify and train youth, wounded warriors, and others with disabilities including those who strive to be winter Paralympians; and help local DSUSA chapters improve their services. A week of ski race training, sponsored by U.S. Paralympics, prepares athletes for the 2012 U.S. Disabled Alpine Ski Championships in Sugarbush, Vt., and Aspen, Colo.; the 2012 World Championships in La Molina, Spain; and the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

New this year are sled hockey and wheelchair curling clinics, culminating in an exhibition game with a wheelchair curling demonstration. The ski instructor academy endorsed by Professional Ski Instructors of America-American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI) offers training for instructors in the latest and safest adaptive ski techniques for skiers with disabilities. “Learn to” programs in alpine and Nordic skiing, biathlon, sled hockey, curling and snowboarding are also offered.

The Hartford Ski Spectacular is also sponsored by U.S. Paralympics and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ; The Bob Woodruff Foundation; Team Semper Fi; Tee It Up For the Troops; Air Compassion for Veterans; Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center; Breckenridge Ski Resort; PSIA-AASI; and Breckenridge Sports. DSUSA chapters supporting the event include: host chapter Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center and chapters National Center for the Disabled, New England Disabled Sports, Adaptive Adventures, Maine Handicapped Skiing, Two Top Mountain Adaptive Sports Foundation, Outdoors For All, and Adaptive Action Sports and National Ability Center.

Follow the action at The Hartford Ski Spectacular on Twitter and Facebook. Look for @DisabledSportUS and #skispec on Twitter and Disabled Sports USA on Facebook , as well as @TheHartford on Twitter and Facebook .

About Disabled Sports USA

Founded in 1967, Disabled Sports USA is a charitable organization that provides opportunities for individuals with disabilities to develop independence, confidence, and fitness through participation in sports. What began as a program to serve Vietnam veterans has since grown into one of the nation’s largest multi-sport, multi-disability organizations, annually serving more than 60,000 wounded warriors, youth, and adults with disabilities. A member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, Disabled Sports USA offers programs in more than 30 summer and winter sports through its nationwide network of more than 100 community-based chapters. For more information, visit www.dsusa.org .

About The Hartford
The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE: HIG) is a leading provider of insurance and wealth management services for millions of consumers and businesses worldwide. The Hartford is consistently recognized for its superior service and as one of the world’s most ethical companies. More information on the company and its financial performance is available at www.thehartford.com . Join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheHartford . Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TheHartford .

About U.S. Paralympics

U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympics Committee, is dedicated to becoming the world leader in the Paralympic sports movement and promoting excellence in the lives of people with disabilities. Through education, sports programs, and partnerships with community organizations, medical facilities, and government agencies, U.S. Paralympics is making a difference in the lives of thousands of people with physical disabilities people every day. Visit www.usparalympics.org for more information.

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Quick facts

Over 100 wounded warriors representing all four military branches and a variety of groups. This year’s event also welcomes back three British service groups, the British Limbless Ex Service Men’s Association (BLESMA), the Rifles Charities, and the Pilgrim Bandits. Some participants will be learning to ski or snowboard for the first time since their injury and some learning advanced training.
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Disabled youth and young adult racers in training for alpine, Nordic, and biathlon events and the subsequent Paralympics.
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Sports organizations serving people with disabilities from throughout the country coming to learn about the latest advanced ski teaching and race training techniques.
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