adaptive skiers group

Story of the Kelly Brush Foundation

Over twenty years ago, Kelly Brush was a freshman at Green Mountain Valley School (GMVS), just down the road from Sugarbush Resort. She trained daily on the slopes of Sugarbush, honing her skills as a top ski racer. Kelly took the skills and confidence she gained from her time in the Mad River Valley and brought them to Middlebury College, where she raced on the Division I NCAA Alpine Ski Team. In 2006, during a NCAA race, Kelly caught an edge and collided with a lift tower. That accident left her with a spinal cord injury and facing the new challenge of adapting to the world as a wheelchair user. When she returned from rehab and began the next chapter of her life, Kelly was determined to not just get by, but to thrive.

Kelly learned how to monoski the winter after her injury, and started the Kelly Brush Foundation (KBF) with her family. Initially, the main goal was to prevent injuries like hers in alpine ski racing. She and her family helped to improve the best practices of ski racing safety nationally in just a few years, a legacy that continues today. GMVS wanted to honor her spirit and contribution to the sport of skiing, renaming the race hill on Mt. Ellen the “Kelly Brush Race Arena.” When a GMVS student was badly cut by his ski, his family approached the KBF. Together with his family and the whole GMVS community, KBF addressed a growing crisis in the alpine ski community through the “Stop the Bleed” program.

Kelly also realized how important sports are for mental health after an injury, and how expensive adaptive sports equipment like monoskis and handcycles actually are. The Kelly Brush Foundation helps people with spinal cord injuries purchase the adaptive sports equipment they need to find community, freedom and wellness through sports.

Sugarbush and the Valley community have been there since day one and continue to be incredible partners. This community has helped us make a local impact but also scaled that impact nationally.

Nowhere is that more on display than at the Kelly Brush Ride, held each September in Middlebury, VT. Since 2010 Sugarbush Resort has been an important sponsor of the Kelly Brush Ride, and the involvement and generosity of the mountain has played a crucial role in growing the KBF and helping more people participate in the sports they love. Sugarbush Resort has done more than support KBF financially. The resort offers up special space in their base lodge when the KBF holds monoski days, they work with mutual partner Vermont Adaptive to introduce people to adaptive skiing, and they attend KBF local events. KBF is proud to call the leadership team at Sugarbush its friends.

The Vermont ski community is small and loyal. KBF is so thankful for the decade of support that Sugarbush has provided and looks forward to partnering for decades to come.

About Kelly Brush Foundation

The Kelly Brush Foundation is a dynamic and growing Burlington, Vermont-based non-profit inspiring and empowering people with spinal cord injuries to be active and working closely with the alpine ski racing community to improve safety. The Kelly Brush Foundation was founded in 2006 by Kelly and her family after Kelly sustained a spinal cord injury while racing in an NCAA alpine ski race. To date the Kelly Brush Foundation has awarded over 930 adaptive equipment grants to people in 48 states.