Skiers Attempt To Descend 100,000 Vertical Feet Challenge In One Day To Benefit STRIDE Adaptive Sports
STRIDE is hosting the 5th annual 100k Vertical Challenge at Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort , a 12-plus-hour team relay race to raise funds and awareness for STRIDE Adaptive Sports programs serving youth and Wounded Warriors with disabilities. Approximately 23 teams of four members will make the attempt, but at its heart, the real competition is in the peer-to-peer fundraising!
Mobility impaired and visually impaired skier Heather DeDecko took her first ski lesson with STRIDE Adaptive Sports in 2014, and now is a member of the STRIDE race team. DeDecko and her VI Guide, along with 2 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 call themselves ‘The Knights of Ni’. Several other teams also include team members with disabilities, including mono-skiers (wheelchair users in sit skis) will also compete.
STRIDE founder, Mary Ellen Whitney expressed her excitement “The increasing number of teams since the first year, is exciting, with 24 teams this year! With 5 days before the event, we have already raised $50,000!! I am proud to see a number of athletes with disabilities on teams, including my own team where a mono-ski athlete will compete with me. It’s events like this that show the world what people are capable of with or without life challenges, and that is what STRIDE is all about!” said Whitney. The event is sponsored by AllSquare Wealth, Regeneron, Tauck World Discovery Tours, GE, and Nine Pin Cider.
DeDecko, paralyzed from birth, skis using stand outriggers and uses a radio headset between she and her Visual impairment guide, Marcel Chaine, to guide her with voice commands down the mountain. She plans to ski about 15 runs for her team, and says “STRIDE is near and dear to my heart because I see it helps so many people year after year. I believe experiences in the pool, or on the dance floor, 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 $75,000 to support STRIDE, which provides more than 11,000 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: www.stride.org to donate. The event starts at 8 a.m. at Jiminy Peak in Hancock, MA on Monday, Feb. 24, and continues until the lifts close or the racers are finished.