Waterville Valley Adaptive Sports (WVAS) was founded in 1992 by Waterville Valley Resort, with financial support from the Waterville Valley Foundation. Created to serve the needs of the disabled, the program quickly grew in popularity and afforded the thrill of snowsports to individuals who might otherwise have never known the freedom and thrill of gliding down a snow-covered mountain. By the mid-2000s, the program had merged with AbilityPlus, and was the both the template for, and great driver of growth of, other successful adaptive snowsports programs throughout New England.
As successful as AbilityPlus was, many members of the Waterville Valley community felt that something was lost as the program grew. The local community felt left behind, and both interest and support began to flag. By the winter of 2010, many key supporters including the Waterville Valley Resort and Waterville Valley Foundation felt that the time had come to “bring the program home”. In August 2011, Waterville Valley Adaptive Sports formally broke away from AbilityPlus. AbilityPlus is a fine organization, and we wish them ultimate success in serving the adaptive sports community — but our future lies along a different, more focused path.
Flash forward to September 2011, and the newly reborn WVAS’ first fundraiser event, “Dinner with Franz”, held September 24th at T-Bars Restaurant at the Waterville Valley Resort. The Board of Directors hoped for modest attendance and a bump-start to fundraising in advance of the 2011-12 ski season. We couldn’t have been more thrilled at the outpouring of support — the event sold out, donors stepped forward with a bunch of great auction items, and volunteers from the Adaptive team and local community worked tirelessly to make the evening a huge success. Chefs Franz Dubach (late of the William Tell), Sean Stout (of the Coyote Grill) and Susan Brunvand (of the Silver Fox) turned out a memorable meal, served by a small army of volunteers who worked hard but made it look easy. Long-time Valley favorite, Smitty “The Fishin’ Musician”, provided a fun soundtrack for the evening, and Tom Gross proved once again why he’s a sought-after auctioneer. Best of all, though, was the overwhelmingly positive feeling in the room. T-Bars rocked with good energy all night long. The Adaptive Program was home again, and everyone was happy.
Headline: The evening was a great success, netting nearly 15% of the program’s operating budget. Support from the community eclipsed even our fondest hopes, and the night gives WVAS a great head start on purchasing much-needed equipment and funding operations. Thanks to your generosity, we are well on our way to re-establishing Waterville Valley Adaptive Sports as stand-alone program serving the needs of the Waterville Valley community.