By Alicia Dziak
It’s that time of year again when the annual Penguin Paddle fundraiser for Holiday Valley’s Lounsbury Adaptive Program (LASP) makes its way to the slopes of Holiday Valley. On Saturday, Feb. 24, jump into a black garbage bag and take a ride down Yodeler penguin-style, all for a great cause.
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. He 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.
The Pengiun Paddle was officially born in 1990, but had been unofficially around for a few years before that when a series of après ski parties in the spring often led to “penguin slides” down Yodeler in front of the ski patrol building.
Over the 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).
The LASP aims to de-emphasize the disability. According to Holiday Valley’s web site, the program is described as offering “lessons to persons with virtually all disabilities, both physical and cognitive. Each student is instructed individually with full emphasis on his/her ability, rather than disability. Some of our more frequently encountered disabilities are spinal cord injuries, Downs Syndrome, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, visual impairment, autism and developmental delay. Results vary, however most are rather outstanding and many students gain new confidence to tackle other activities.”
The Penguin Paddle is the major annual fundraiser for the LASP. It is a day filled with wonderful auction items, delicious food and lots of laughs as “penguins” make their way down the slope.
Schedule of events is as follows:
•8:30-12:30 Registration for the slide at Creekside Lodge $1
•9:00-1:00 Registration for the slide at the base of Yodeler $1
•Raffle Tickets on sale all day at Yodeler
•11:30 to 2:00 Silent Auction in the tent at the base of Yodeler
•11:30 to 1:15 Lunch in the Lunch Tent, $5 donation.
•1:30 Penguin Races begin – Helmets Required
Don’t miss your chance to support a great cause while having a blast on the slopes of Holiday Valley. Stop by and end the break week with the Penguin Paddle!
For more info, visit www.holidayvalley.com.