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Skiers Attempt To Descent 100,000 Vertical Feet Challenge In One Day To Benefit STRIDE Adaptive Sports

STRIDE is hosting the 3rd annual 100k Vertical Challenge at Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort in Hancock, MA. This 12-plus-hour team relay race aims to raise funds and awareness for STRIDE Adaptive Sports programs for youth and Wounded Warriors with disabilities. Approximately 23 teams of two or four members will make the attempt.

Mobility impaired and visually impaired skier Heather DeDecko took her first ski lesson with STRIDE Adaptive Sports in 2014. On Feb. 26, DeDecko and her VI Guide, along with 3 other STRIDE coaches on their team will attempt to ski 100,000 vertical feet (about 87 runs) as part of a relay team for the 100K Vertical Challenge, an endurance ski and snowboard event. The team dubbed themselves as called ‘The Knights of Ni’ . STRIDE founder, Mary Ellen Whitney expressed her excitement for mounting number of teams since the first year, with only 9. Whitney is proud to see a number for athletes with disabilities on teams, including her own team where a bi-ski athlete will compete with them, tethered by the other members. “It’s situations like this that show the world what people are capable of with or without life challenges, and that is what STRIDE is all about. I am proud to have so many STRIDE Snow sport coaches invite athletes to join them!” said Whitney.

DeDecko, paralyzed from birth, skis using stand outriggers and uses a radio headset between she and her Visual impairment guide, Mark McClenahan, special equipment to guide her with voice commands down the mountain. She plans to ski about 12 runs for her team, and says “STRIDE is near and dear to my heart because I see it helps so many people week after week. I believe experiences in the pool, or on the dance floor, or in the park, or on the mountain belong to everyone. So for me, the 100K is more like a celebration of all STRIDE does, and I get to hang out with some of my favorite people doing a sport I love!”

Heather DeDecko is just one heartwarming story to come out of the STRIDE 100K Vertical Challenge. The event hopes to raise $50,000 to support STRIDE, which provides more than 8,000 adaptive sport and recreation lessons each year to individuals with disabilities, focusing on youth and Wounded Warriors. You can help support Heather’s team or any team by going to:

The event starts at 8 a.m. at Jiminy Peak in Hancock, MA on Monday, Feb. 26, and continues until the lifts close.

Celebrating 32 years, STRIDE Adaptive Sports is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides over 8,000 adaptive sport and recreation lessons each year to individuals with disabilities, focusing on youth and Wounded Warriors. With a focus on individual life-time sports, STRIDE programs use specialized equipment or teaching aids for successful participation to “level the playing field” for all. STRIDE is a partner member of Disabled Sports USA and Professional Ski Instructors of America; a US Paralympic Sport Club; a training club for New York Special Olympics; and an official Red Cross provider. STRIDE is recognized as one of the leading adaptive sport programs in the Northeastern United States.

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