Each year the VA New England Healthcare System invites military service veterans with spinal cord injuries, orthopedic amputation, visual impairments, certain neurological problems, and other disabilities to participate in the New England Winter Sports Clinic for Disabled Veterans. This event promotes rehabilitation by instructing physically challenged veterans in adaptive Alpine skiing and will provide an introduction to other adaptive activities and sports.

Downhill Skiing is the main event on Tuesday and Wednesday, among the variety of adaptive activities participants are introduced to such as:

  • Kayaking
  • Air Rifle Shooting
  • Seated Yoga
  • Massages

Sled Hockey with the Ice Vets registration is held before the opening ceremonies on Monday. The week quickly gets busy with fun and friendly wheelchair basketball game with the Sunapee Fire Department. Ski races are held Thursday morning and a great Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament before Closing Ceremonies.

Awards are presented the final day, among which some of the most interesting are:

  • Most Improved
  • Human Snowplow
  • Top Gun
  • Team Awards

There’s also plenty of music, dancing and fun squeezed in throughout the week. It’s an event that can’t be missed, so much so, there are two skiers have been to every Winter Sports Clinic.

Although held every January, the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled it for 2020. Plans are being developed to hold it in 2021, so check back here for any updates!

Many “Thanks” to the volunteers who give so much of their time, which without the Clinic wouldn’t be such a huge success.

History

First held in 1997 the Winter Sports Clinic for Disabled Veterans is the catalysts for much of the Recreation programs which have followed. Started the year before the Bass Trail each were special events which became annual events! With 11 skiers the first clinic it doubled to 22 the follow year. Word of mouth grew it so quickly the Clinic had to cap participation to 50 athletes, which always create a long waiting list.