October 1, 2023

Boise snowsport groups encourage adaptive athletes to hit the slopes

While the Boise Community Ski Swap gets people outfitted and ready to hit the sloped, they’re also giving all Idahoans an opportunity to enjoy the winter season.

BOISE, Idaho — As ski and snowboard season approaches the Treasure Valley, a local organization is working to ensure everyone is able to get up on the mountains.

The Boise Adaptive Snowsport Education (BASE) Program offers ski and snow sports lessons to those with physical and developmental disabilities. The organization is entirely self-funded and relies heavily on donations from the community.

After the COVID-19 pandemic posed challenges to the winter season last year, the organization is ready to get more adaptive students on the snow.

To help, the Boise Gear Collective organized the Boise Community Ski Swap this weekend to get more people ready for the winter season. The group partnered with local groups to sell hundred of skis, boards, boots and other equipment.

“You can get some really cheap, affordable stuff or you might have some really high-end stuff for a really good deal,” said Devin Kohles, a solutions engineer for Boise Gear Collective. “We got a lot of people and volunteers with a lot of knowledge, so anything you really need, come ask somebody in a staff shirt and we’ll get everybody set up to get on the mountain this year.”

While the ski swap gets people outfitted and ready to hit the sloped, they’re also giving all Idahoans an opportunity to enjoy the winter season. A portion of the proceeds made at the ski swap will be donated to BASE.

“There are many people that get left out of some of these fun activities that we have in Idaho because they have a disability or a mental condition that makes it difficult for them to be in a regular group lesson situation,” said Becki Walters, the snowsport director at BASE.

BASE has taught adaptive athletes of all ages how to participate in winter sports activities using their specialized equipment for more than 40 years. Walters has been involved for more than 20 years.

“It’s surprising the people we can get up on the snow, and they may never be independent skiers, but that they’re out there having fun with their family and community,” she said.

Walters feels connected to the cause because she has a disability herself. She was diagnosed with cancer and lost her left leg when she was 16 years old.

“I got a chance to go skiing and it changed my life and I was like, ‘Wow. I want to help other people experience this,'” Walters said. “I think it’s exciting and I hope to bring along to the future generations that everything is possible.”

The Boise Ski Swap continues through Sunday afternoon at the Scandinavian Design Outlet Store on Broadway Avenue. The event will be held until 3 p.m.

BASE is also looking for more students and volunteer instructors for the upcoming season. For more information, click here.

See the latest news from around the Treasure Valley and the Gem State in our YouTube playlist: