By Lori Hensel

On Saturday, Feb. 25, the annual Penguin Paddle will take place at Holiday Valley.   This event, which is the annual fundraiser for the Lounsbury Adaptive Ski Program (LASP), has hundreds of participants who drape themselves in large black garbage bags and slide down the lower part of the Yodeler ski slope on their bellies “penguin style.”

The Lounsbury Adaptive Ski Program (LASP) was founded by dedicated ski patrollers with the cooperation and support of Holiday Valley Ski Resort in September 1988.  The program was started to honor Bill Lounsbury, who was a member of the Holiday Valley Ski Patrol.  Bill lost a leg to cancer in 1982, but that didn’t stop him from pursuing his love of skiing.  Bill taught himself to ski on one leg, and his courage and love of skiing was an inspiration to many.  After Bill lost his battle with cancer, the first pieces of adaptive equipment for the program were purchased using donations sent to the Holiday Valley Ski Patrol in Bill’s memory.

Over the last 29 years, the LASP has grown to 40 instructors who work together to teach more than 250 lessons during the course of a single ski season.  These dedicated volunteer instructors are trained in adaptive ski methods, and more than half of the instructors are certified by the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA).

LASP offers lessons to people with physical and cognitive disabilities using a wide range of adaptive equipment.  If a student wants to ski, the instructors will find a way to get them out on the slopes! Our instructors don’t just teach skiing— they allow students the opportunity to participate in something that the rest of us may take for granted.  They give students a sense of accomplishment, a sense of freedom, pride and independence!

This fun filled day includes something for everyone— the penguin slide, lunch, raffles and a silent auction.  Come bring the whole family, and make of day of it, all while supporting a great cause!

Schedule of events:

9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Registration for the slide at the base of Yodeler $1

Raffle Tickets on sale all day at Yodeler (Holiday Valley Season Pass, $500 Southwest Airlines Travel Voucher and High performance skis from Dekdebruns Ski Shop)

10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Silent Auction at the base of Yodeler

11:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. Lunch in the tent at the base of Yodeler, $5 donation

12 p.m. Adaptive equipment demonstrations

1 p.m. Penguin Races begin – Helmets required