A Foundation For The Community

Walls are going up! Vermont Adaptive had a HUGE week at Mt. Ellen last week, and we were stoked to have Roy from the High Fives Foundation there with us to see the awesomeness! High Fives donated $50,000 toward our new adaptive sports facility at Sugarbush Resort, and we couldn’t be more grateful.

Our sights are set for an anticipated grand opening of this state-of-the-art facility $2.5 million adaptive sports facility for the Winter 2021-2022 ski and snowboard season.

We know it has been a long three years since we kicked off and announced this project, with many twists and turns including a global pandemic, which none of us could have foreseen. This year has had its own set of challenges. There are major supply chain issues and materials are more expensive. With that said, we are so grateful to have Naylor and Breen on the project doing everything they can to keep things on schedule and as close to budget as possible. And to everyone in the Sugarbush Resort community for believing in this project – and us – we couldn’t do this without your incredible support.

“As with at any ski resort, community is a big part of the entire experience and that holds true for everyone who enjoys Mt. Ellen, whether as an independent skier/snowboarder or someone participating with us,” said Erin Fernandez, executive director at Vermont Adaptive, the largest year-round organization in the state to offer daily adaptive sports programs to people with disabilities.

“With our building connected to the existing base lodge, all of our guests will have access to everything in the Mt. Ellen lodge – the cafeteria, bathrooms, bar and pub on the third floor, the retail shop. There is no division. Friends and family can recreate, get ready together and apres-ski together. The elevator will be a game changer, too. This new building will be the foundation and home for an incredible community of athletes, volunteers, local community members and tourists who can all now recreate together – year-round – with ease.”

Demolition at the site is complete, crew have poured the foundation, and the framework of the new facility is underway. Interior work will begin to take shape this fall on this long-awaited project. Until now, Vermont Adaptive has operated out of 400 sq. ft. of borrowed space in the lodge. This new 4,000 sq. ft. facility at Sugarbush is the second of three permanent homes to be built in Vermont for the national nonprofit.

The new facility is specifically designed with the Vermont Adaptive participants, volunteers, staff, and community in mind in order to bring year-round accessible sports and recreation to the entire Mad River Valley area. 

The new facility at Sugarbush will include three floors for adaptive sports programming, retreats, veterans’ programs, workshops, and wellness seminars as well as the following:

  • Access for All Elevator for three floors at Mt. Ellen at Sugarbush.
  • Year-round storage for expensive state-of-the-art adaptive equipment.
  • Bag and gear storage space for staff, volunteers and guests.
  • Connecting pathways to existing and new spaces – connection to Sugarbush’s main base lodge level for food, the fireplace, seating, and retail.
  • Accessible entryways and exits for getting ready for and hitting the slopes.
  • Dedicated space for program check-in, accessible restrooms, program space, personal storage and changing space, volunteer break room, educational lending library, and more.
  • Specially-designed soundproof sensory room for those who need a comfortable retreat away from noise and overstimulation.
  • Multi-purpose space for classroom activities, retreats, yoga workshops, wellness camps, and other holistic activities.
  • Space to work on equipment with a mechanical equipment closet included.

Vermont Adaptive arrived at Sugarbush Resort in 1991, when it expanded its programming locations to include Sugarbush in addition to its then-home base at Mt. Ascutney, where programs began in 1987. (The statewide headquarters is now at Pico Mountain.) The longstanding partnership between the organization and Sugarbush Resort has thrived for the past 30 years.

We still have about $400,000 left to raise for this project – Can you help make a difference in the lives of others? Please consider a donation today. To learn more about the facility, view designs and renderings, and to make a donation, visit https://www.vermontadaptive.org/sugarbushfacility/

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