Construction Update – Vermont Adaptive’s New $2.5 Million Adaptive Sports Facility at Mt. Ellen

Vermont Adaptive racer Phil takes a moment to adjust his goggles while coach and Vermont Adaptive athlete and board member Emily Cioffi gives him a few pointers on his pole placement. He sets his poles just in front of the starting gates, and Emily counts him down. She yells “Racer ready! Three, two, one! Go, Phil, Go!” and he takes off. After a strong push and a few pole plants, he brings his hands out in front and carves around the tight slalom course that Emily set that afternoon. His instructor Glen follows behind him next to the gates with reminders about his form and where to put his hands. 

Phil says that his favorite thing about being on the Vermont Adaptive Race Team is doing what he loves; skiing. He learned to ski when he was three-years-old and has been skiing consistently for more than 30 years.

Another racer, Chris, who goes by the nickname Turtle while at practice because of how far he’s come out of his shell, also says that he just loves to come out with Vermont Adaptive every Sunday and ski. He doesn’t have a preference for flat runs, or moguls, or the race course as long as he’s skiing. He says that his second favorite thing about the team is the friends, and then French fries are a close third.

Hopefully you’ve seen Vermont Adaptive’s programs, like the race team and other individual lessons, in action at Mt. Ellen and know how vital these programs are to the organization’s participants and the Sugarbush community.

When you have 100 athletes, volunteer instructors, staff, parents and caregivers in a 400 sq. ft. space on a busy Sunday afternoon, it can be quite hectic! That is what our old space was in the existing Mt. Ellen base lodge. This new, 4,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art adaptive sports facility at Mt. Ellen will provide ample room to move and breathe, prepare for lessons in a calm and non-rushed way and provide alternative spaces for those who need to be away from the hustle and bustle of a busy programming day. The first goal is to improve the experience for our athletes and participants. Having a space that is designed with their needs in mind is the first priority. Things like paint color and the type of lighting used are important for people with sensory needs. A quiet room will allow those who are overwhelmed in crowded spaces to find reprieve. Private space for volunteer instructors to prepare for their lessons as well as recap them keeps client information confidential. Office space for programming staff. Proper storage rooms for expensive adaptive equipment. ADA restrooms, doorways, and more. Most importantly, an all-access elevator so that everybody can enjoy all three floors (including the bar) of the base lodge. The list goes on. The facility is thoughtfully designed to accommodate the needs of our entire community.

Perhaps you have already have seen the photos and videos on social media of the substantial renovations and the addition to the base lodge at Mt. Ellen, which are currently underway. It is clear – ANY Mt. Ellen guest will surely have a better experience this winter and for years to follow. It’s an exciting time in the life of Mt. Ellen and all of us here at Vermont Adaptive hope you will join us and be a part of that excitement!

We can’t wait to bring our athletes, volunteers and YOU into our new space. Plans are on schedule to be open when Mt. Ellen opens for the winter. Vermont Adaptive programs don’t officially start until Dec. 26, but you’ll see our volunteer instructors and staff out and about before that training and getting the new space ready for fun.

To reach the finish line, we need your help.

The most meaningful way you can impact the success of Vermont Adaptive’s programs and our athletes is to make a donation today to support this new, amazing adaptive sports facility. We have approximately $350,000 of $2.5 million left to raise for our part of the building. Your donation is tax-deductible. Vermont Adaptive’s success relies on donations from volunteers, corporate sponsors, in-kind resort support, and individuals just like you. This Sugarbush community has always been a generous part of our success.

Please support Vermont Adaptive and make a donation to this new facility today at You can learn more, view photos and make your donation right at that link. Here’s a quick message from Karen Lawson on why they donated!

We’ll be at Community Day weekend Oct. 9-10 so be sure to stop by our table and say hi, learn more about our programs and the new facility. Or drive by the Mt. Ellen lodge and see the construction first hand!

Here’s to a fantastic fall foliage season and a crisp nip in the air – and thank you as always for your support.

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