Adaptive Sports Sun Peaks bids its biggest champions goodbye

Neil and Veronica Connors have left big ski boots to fill in the adaptive sports community after well over a decade of service.
Veronica and Neil Connors are smiling while wearing bright green ski jackets and black gloves. A snow covered ski run is in the background.
Veronica and Neil Connors have helped Adaptive Sports Sun Peaks for over a decade. Photo by Liz McDonald.

Neil and Veronica Connors, ski training directors for Adaptive Sports Sun Peaks (ASSP), have devoted countless hours to the adaptive snow sports program, but their time on the mountain is coming to a close. 

On Sunday, April 2, the community bid them farewell during an annual ASSP event at the Annex as the couple prepared for a cross-continental move.

The couple, outgoing ski training directors, worked with ASSP for well over a decade. 

Veronica explained she began her journey with ASSP in 2008 while working part-time with Sun Peaks Sports School.

“We saw an article in SPIN asking for potential instructors to do the [Canadian Adaptive Snowsports] course … As a registered nurse, both Neil and I thought that it would be something of interest to me to work with people living with disabilities … Everyone needs a purpose and that was going to be my purpose.”

Neil was involved in the sports school as well and joined ASSP in 2013.

Both say a highlight of their time with ASSP included maintaining national excellence standards of training and having the highest quality safety for students — from training instructors to maintaining equipment.

“We have to remember that we’re working with lots of vulnerable people who have special needs. We have to ensure extra safety measures are taken with them,” Veronica said.

Last season, the two won Administrators of the Year awards by CADS during the organization’s national festival and Neil won Instructor of the Year.

Another highlight of the night was tributes to the Connors from Dick Taylor, the founder of ASSP and Nan Stevens, ASSP vice president. Mayor Al Raine and Coun. Julie Kimmel also gave a community service award to the Connors.

Veronica was especially touched by a video compilation from the evening to “So Long, Farewell” from The Sound of Music, one of Veronica’s favourite musicals.

“What really touched me, in particular, was the video compilation of all the photos of Neil and me throughout the last 15 years — photos that we’ve long forgotten, and it was just such a joy to see and relive the memories,” she told SPIN.

“For me, it was certainly [a great moment] having our kids involved over Zoom, because we were not aware they were there during the whole ceremony,” Neil said.

The couple knows ASSP is left in wonderful hands with a solid board of directors. They said they’ve formed deep relationships with ASSP members over the years.

“We’ve spent the last 10 and 15 years building a great platform and now it’s up to the new generation to grow that,” Neil said.

The Connors extended their gratitude to Sun Peaks Resort LLP for its integral support of ASSP’s operations, as well as SPR sports director Ian Logan, all of the ASSP instructors and students and their families.

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