Waddle Over for the Penguin Paddle Feb. 20

By Alicia Dziak

Be part of an EVL tradition at the annual Penguin Paddle, Saturday, Feb. 20 on the slopes of Holiday Valley when participants hop inside black garbage bags and slide down the Yodeler slope “penguin style” on their bellies!

In addition to the slide itself, this major fundraiser for Holiday Valley’s Lounsbury Adaptive Ski Program (LASP) features a silent auction, raffles, music by DJ John Barry, and a lunch tent, where you can refuel for a $5 donation. Registration for the event is only $1 at Creekside or Yodeler lodges.

This year’s Penguin Paddle, which runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., will feature more than 75 auction items and a live radio station broadcast.

Even if you’re not up for sliding down, you can still participate in the event’s other components, and watch the penguins paddle their way down Yodeler. The Paddle is fun for all ages, and broken down into the following age brackets: ages 4-6, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-20, 21 and over and mixed doubles (two person bags).

For a schedule of events, see page 5.

What exactly does all this fun benefit? LASP is made up of 45 volunteer instructors who teach 225-250 lessons per year. Students have a range of physical and cognitive disabilities, but that is not the focus. The emphasis, instead, is on what the students CAN do, and the specially trained instructors work with each student individually, with the goal of giving them new confidence to tackle other activities as well.

“When a disabled person learns to ski, many times, they think if they can do this, they can do anything,” said Mary Ellen Racich, LASP director, noting that giving students that feeling is one of the program’s goals.

Another goal is to enable the students to eventually ski with their families.

Money raised from the Penguin Paddle goes toward equipment, instructor training, the scholarship program, and an annual Veterans day, this year held on March 4, where disabled veterans from all over can come and learn to ski.

Don’t miss out on the thrill and laughs of the Penguin Paddle. It only comes once a year, and now’s your chance to end the February break on a silly, slippery note!