Hartford Ski Spectacular

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Wow... what an amazing week out at The Hartford Ski Spectacular. I had not been out to the event since...2001? For those of you not familiar with the event, it is an extraordinary event sponsored by The Hartford and put on by Disabled Sports USA that brings in over 800 individuals --- people with disabilities learning to ski, learning to race, adaptive instructors/coaches, wounded warriors, program coordinators etc. The energy is high and it is the kind of week that sticks with people for a long time, if not for life.

For me, I remember as a kid going to skispec looking up to the Paralympic athletes at the time and realizing that I too could maybe one day be like them. It was a surreal week to come full circle and to be on the other side of the table--not there as a learn to race participant, but rather as a guest with The Hartford and also a representative for the Board of Directors for DSUSA.

The Hartford runs an event within the event that involves bringing in a customer wave and a producer/broker wave. This means clients and employees of the Hartford have the opportunity to see firsthand what it is they are all about. They are a company that walks the talk and this event really shows that. There are business sessions in the morning and then they have the opportunity to ski with us and ask questions and meet other participants throughout the week. It's pretty cool and each athlete has the chance to share their story as well to the group.

The highlights of the week were witnessing those individuals who lost their legs just months ago in the war getting out on the ski hill for the first time, the customers who had never before gone skiing conquering their fears to give it a try, getting others to try monoskiing for the very first time; it was incredible.

On a personal note, it was incredible to be surrounded by so many people who have been there for me since I got involved with disabled sports. So many former instructors, life mentors, friends, coaches, volunteers were there. In particular Kathy & Liz, the two who I lived with for a year while attending the Waterville Valley Ski Academy, they both are involved in some capacity running the whole event. It was just like old times catching up with them. I would not be where I am today without these two incredible people. They were there for me through one of the hardest times in my life, and for that I am forever grateful.

The week was a huge success, I was certainly in my element loving every minute. Now it's back to reality, one more day of the semester then I can finally unpack, perhaps do some Christmas shopping and get ready to spend some time with the family next week.


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