The Adaptive Sports Center (ASC) was founded in 1987 and was originally known as the Crested Butte Physically Challenged Ski Program. A small but passionate group of residents spearheaded the program with the intent of providing ski instruction and equipment to individuals with disabilities on their home mountain. In that first year, 33 participants received lessons from an all-volunteer staff.
The organization gained traction in 1988 thanks to a significant contribution from President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter.
The ASC is now a full-fledged therapeutic recreation program that operates year-round, with adaptive activities ranging from mountain biking and skiing to ice climbing and kayaking. Over 6,000 activities are provided annually to nearly 800 individuals who come to Crested Butte from all over the U.S. and overseas each year.
Through clinical studies and post-activity participant surveys, we know that our programs are creating positive change in our participants’ daily lives. In a 2015-2016 participant survey, 100% of our participants reported the highest possible level of satisfaction with their programming experience. Our participants have stated immediate benefits following their participation in our programs, including a good night’s sleep and a sense of empowerment that comes from successfully learning a new skill. This has been further supported by a 2009 Brigham Young University clinical study which found that participation in adaptive sports improved overall health, quality of life, self-confidence, general level of activity, feelings of empowerment, and satisfaction with life. Two highlights from the study found:
Over time, ASC’s participant base has expanded to include individuals with an extremely broad range of physical, emotional and cognitive differences. On any given day, a child with a rare mitochondrial condition might sit side-by-side on a fit-up bench with a war veteran battling posttraumatic stress and share a laugh. The ASC works with anyone with any type of disability who exhibits a desire to participate in activities, regardless of their capacity to pay. Programs for the Gunnison Valley clientele remain as popular as they were 30 years ago, and some of the ASC’s first participants from Six Points Evaluation and Training (a Gunnison-based nonprofit that serves adults with developmental disabilities) receive instruction to this day. Additionally, the ASC partners with numerous renowned hospitals, veteran groups, schools and foundations from across the country.
We can only do what we do thanks to
the life changing support of these partners.