I’ve long know Aspen is where Kate and I would eventually settle when we were finished with our lives as traveling physical therapists. We’ve been working here for the last 10 winters and have established a community of great friends around us. For several years, I’ve been patiently waiting to run the summer trails around here. There’s a great paved trail tracing along the old Rio Grande Railroad that stretches up and down our entire valley. There are hundreds of other trails shooting up every peak and valley. Until now, I haven’t known any of the summertime trails, but I’m quickly learning.
Over the past several winters, Kate has been working in a slopeside clinic on Snowmass Mountain where ski patrol brings in the injured directly from the mountain. (Fun fact, the rate of injury in recreational alpine skiing and snowboarding is 2-3 per 1000 ski days. Meaning for every 1,000 skiers on the mountain, you’ll have 2 to 3 patients.) Kate is able to offer her help to Ski Patrol managing on-slope injuries in between scheduled outpatients coming specifically for PT – it’s a very cool practice setting. Also based in the base village at Snowmass is Challenge Aspen, a charity that provides really exceptional outdoor recreation experiences for the physically and cognitively challenged. Over Kate’s time in Snowmass, she has gotten to know much of the Challenge Aspen staff and has learned about the work they do. One big event they do every year for their annual fundraising is a marathon, typically held in a different country. When I was thinking about a lot of running this summer, and Kate was hearing from her Challenge Aspen friends that the marathon will be in Iceland this year. We knew we had to consider the trip. With a new house, a new baby, and establishing a new summer routine in Aspen, we have a lot on our plates, but the opportunity to travel to Iceland while supporting a fantastic cause is too much to pass up. The $3,950 goal that each runner must raise will be a challenge, but I know we can do it and hope to exceed that goal.
I have known Challenge Aspen primarily for their adaptive skiing and snowboarding opportunities. Certified Adaptive Instructors are out every day of the winter teaching skiing and snowboarding to participants in Challenge Aspen’s programs. But, much like the summer trails in Aspen that I am learning about for the first time, I am beginning to learn more about Challenge Aspen’s summer work as well. What they do on a daily basis for skiing and snowboarding in the winter, they do for horseback riding, rock climbing, river rafting, fishing, and hiking in the summer. One particular summer program that stands out to me is a retreat for female service members through the Challenge Aspen Military Opportunities (CAMO). The retreat focuses on yoga, meditation, and counseling for veterans who experienced sexual abuse while serving our country. The retreat is just one of a great variety of programs and retreats that Challenge Aspen provides, but it’s unlike anything else I have ever heard of – very, very powerful work. The breadth of what Challenge Aspen does is too much to list here succinctly, and they do it with small staff and very low overhead. Challenge Aspen is not a large operation, but they involve hundreds of participants each year while remaining a very lean operation.
I hope you’ll consider joining me in supporting Challenge Aspen. They are truly a charity unlike any I have seen before. The results of their work can be seen on the faces of any one of their participants as they enjoy sports they never thought they would have the opportunity to enjoy. Please contribute whatever you are able by clicking this link or any of the logos scattered around this page.
Thank you and please feel free to comment with any questions you might have about Challenge Aspen or this fundraiser.