New England Disabled Sports (NEDS) at Loon Mountain, which provides year round adaptive sport instruction to adults and children with physical and cognitive disabilities, announces the hiring of Roy Whitaker as the first ever Executive Director, a new race coach, and a calendar full of events for the rest of the winter season.
Roy Whitaker, who has coached for NEDS for the past 10 years, has an extensive business experience as an entrepreneur, business owner, and consultant for small businesses, has been hired as the new NEDS executive director.
“Originally I was going to consult for NEDS part time,” Whitaker said. “But when they offered me the job of Executive Director, I couldn’t turn it down. It’s like a family here and this is a way for the program to move forward and for me to apply the knowledge I have of running a business to the program,” Whitaker added. “It’s a huge transition for NEDS.”
2002 and 2006 Paralympian ski racer, Lacey Heward, is offering training to any students who would like to learn how to race this winter. “We are honored to have such an incredible skier here teaching our students this winter,” said Jack Daly, who has been serving as acting director for NEDS.
This year, NEDS received a $25,000 Olympic Opportunity Fund Grant which they used to purchase state-of-the-art mono skis so that injured military veterans could do some one stop shopping at Loon Mountain, try out the equipment, and be fitted properly. As part of this grant, NEDS agreed to showcase the new equipment to five venues around the country including the Annual Hartford Ski Spectacular hosted by Disabled Sports USA at Breckenridge, Colorado. The Ski Spectacular is the nation’s largest winter sports festival of its kind. Participants include wounded warriors that lost limbs or suffered major injuries in different wars from both the United States and the United Kingdom.
On February 3-5, the NEDS race team conducted a clinic at Whiteface Mountain, Lake Placid NY and participated in the Empire State Games that were hosted in the area.
NEDS hosts a number of big events throughout the season. On February 5, New England Disabled Sports hosted the 2012 New England Disabled Sports Ski and Ride Challenge and Adaptive Sports Expo. Formerly known as the Ski and Ride-A-Thon, this event is a major fundraiser for New England Disabled Sports and raised over $105,000 this year which will help support year round programs at NEDS such as SCUBA, surfing, golf, biathlon, water skiing, biking, Nordic and alpine skiing, and snowshoeing.
Another big fundraising event for NEDS is the annual Kostick Kup Race and Auction on Saturday, March 10th. Teams of five each with a least one adaptive racer compete in friendly competition down Coolidge. Awards not only go to the fastest racers and teams but also to the most creative helmets, most stylish descent of the course, most unique finish, and “agony of defeat.” Dinner and an auction will follow at the Beacon Resort in Lincoln. March 22-24, NEDS will partner with Adaptive Programs at Bretton Woods and Waterville Valley to bring a group of US veterans that have been disabled as a result of injuries incurred in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. These War Fighters/Wounded Warriors will participate in three days of alpine skiing, race clinics, and friendly competition.
For more information on New England Disabled Sports visit http://nedisabledsports.org.