Adaptive ski program available for 'special' athletes

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  • Nick and the Mountain Creek Team, headed by Tim Stone, Rich Calak, Jimbo Paulovich &Buffy Whiting on the Horizon slope

  • From left, John & Buffy Whiting, Tim Stone, Nick, “Ninja” Patti Cerrato & Mike Holt

  • Nick Cerrato, the inspiration behind the Adaptive Sports Program at Mountain Creek heads for some runs with Tim Stone

Thousands of area winter sports enthusiasts visit the Mountain Creek Ski Resort every year to enjoy a day on the slopes.

With the addition of an adaptive ski program to the Resorts wide range of on snow programs, special athletes can now share in the enjoyment and fun of skiing.

The inspiration behind the Mountain Creek Adaptive Sports Program at Mountain Creek was a young local man by the name of Nick Cerrato, a Vernon resident, who wanted to experience the fun of skiing but was limited by the absence of a program that could adapt to his special needs. He reached out to local skiers Buffy and John Whiting asking “Is there an adaptive program at Mountain Creek that would allow me to ski there?”

At the time Mountain Creek did not offer a program, but the Whiting’s made a commitment to their new friend Nick to explore what would be required to develop a program and get it started.

After 5 years of research, planning and development on the part of a dedicated group of Mountain Creek staffers and the creation of a partnership with the Helen Hayes Hospital for Rehabilitation the program kicked off last ski season. This year the program has grown to provide instruction to a variety aspiring athletes with traumatic brain injury, Down Syndrome and Autism, as well as physical conditions such as blindness, hearing impairments, amputation, spinal cord injury, Cerebral Palsy and Multiple Sclerosis.

On Friday, March 9, Nick Cerrato enjoyed the benefit of his wish to be able to hit the slopes. He kicked off the program at the end of the year with a lesson on the beginner Sugar Slope, but this year he was ready to go to the top of the mountain and do some runs on the intermediate Horizon Slope.

The day of fun skiing for Nick was celebrated by the Mountain Creek Adaptive Team including ADSP at MC Board of Directors headed by Tim Stone, Buffy and John Whiting, Nick’s mom Patti, MC team members Ninja, and Mike Holt.

The Adaptive Sports Program at Mountain Creek is supported by the non-profit Adaptive Sports Program at Mountain Creek in partnership with the Mountain Creek Resort and the Helen Hayes Hospital. More information about the Adaptive Sports Program at Mountain Creek can be obtained from the non-profit’s website and donations to help support the program can be made via that website. Anyone interested in taking advantage of this great Mountain Creek adaptive program can learn more by visiting the Mountain Creek website at and clicking on the “Lessons” link and then the “Adaptive’ link.

In spite of the inconsistent weather the Mountain Creek staff has done a great job providing an outstanding skiing and riding experience and is looking forward to a fun conclusion to the season on St. Patrick’s day with the traditional Pond Skimming competition and a fun April Fool’s Day celebration if Mother Nature cooperates.

— Story and photos courtesy John Whiting

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