Adaptive Sports Sun Peaks planning new procedures for next ski season

ASSP snowboarding students and instructors, file supplied

Adaptive Sports Sun Peaks (ASSP) is taking the summer to prepare for the 2020-21 winter ski season. The group will have to create new policies and procedures to ensure they are compliant with COVID-19 safety rules. 

Traditionally, the organization’s programming sees a lot of contact between students and volunteers, which means the use of specialized equipment and contact may change. 

Jenny Hawes, program manager of ASSP, said they are looking at what measures may have to be put in place to ease the anxieties and additional risks for people with disabilities or chronic illness.

Canadian Adaptive Snow Sports (CADS) recently announced plans for their festival in March 2021 in Sun Peaks and are currently limiting their participants to independent skiers only. 

The new rules could affect sit-skiers if they cannot do the transfer into the sit-ski on their own or with the support of their family members or close friends. 

“Then we may face a constraint there,” said Hawes. “The good thing about our situation is that November, December, January, when our season starts is still a long ways away so we’re hoping that between now and then the situation changes”

The CADS festival started the weekend that COVID-19 closed Sun Peaks, ending the festival 48 hours before it was scheduled to begin, leaving many volunteers unable to complete their final certifications.

“That was really tough,” said Hawes, adding other year end festivities were also cancelled.

This winter the program had 60 local students, making it their highest enrollment to date. They also recruited 30 new instructors, increasing the number to 55 active volunteers. 

“[That]was really great for us, our program’s been growing slowly but steadily over the years.” said Hawes.

COVID-19 also impacted their ability to raise funds, as ASSP relies heavily on events and fundraisers which they were not able to hold. 

Hawes said they are open to receiving financial donations from organizations or people as they begin to come up with new creative ways to raise funds.

Additionally, people can continue to donate ski, snowboard equipment and gear to ASSP through Consignor Sports in Kamloops by adding to the ASSP account.

Hawes said they also hope to continue to recruit volunteers for the program this upcoming season, especially more snowboarding instructors. 

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