Adaptive skiers turn heads at Eldora Mountain

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BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — If you’ve ever doubted your ability to go skiing, skydiving or anything else adventurous, Josh Basile has a message for you: get out there and try it.

When he was 18, Basile’s life was turned upside down on a family trip along the Delaware coast.

“I was in waist-high water, turned my back to the ocean, and a wave picked me up and threw me over my boogie board and slammed me on my head, and I shattered my neck,” he said.

The accident left Basile mostly paralyzed from the neck down, but it hasn’t stopped his adventurous spirit.

Ten months after the injury, he founded Determined2Heal, an organization aimed at helping those with paralysis lead adventurous lives.

This weekend, his non-profit flew a small group to Colorado to try adaptive skiing at Eldora Mountain Resort.

“There’s so much that can be done if you get out there,” Basile says. “The adventure of life continues if you’re ready to go after it.”

Eldora features one of the top adaptive ski schools in the country, called Ignite Adaptive Sports.

About 240 volunteers help people with disabilities learn how to ski.

“We don’t turn anyone away for a disability. And we don’t turn anyone away for ability to pay,” says Finn Murphy.

The volunteer group is specially trained to help people get down the mountain on adaptive skis.

“Going down — that feeling of just freedom out of my wheelchair — going down the hill with the speed, it’s an amazing feeling,” says Kelley Simoneaux.

Basile says his goal is to help those with disabilities “live with adventurous wheels.”

“The next time they have an obstacle, it’s that much easier,” he says. “They just went skiing down the mountain, going crazy fast. If you’re able to live with adventurous wheels, you really can do anything. And, at the same time, you’re going to change the way the world sees paralysis.”

Help sponsor a future trip for Determined2Heal here.

More information on Ignite Adaptive Sports is also available online.

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