Monday, February 29, 2016
Previous to the introduction of the Veloped Mountain Walker - also called by the simpler name Trek - I noticed some people were bringing wheelchairs or rollators to hiking programs to provide balance and portable seating during the trail experience. This standard medical equipment is not designed for off-road conditions and often doesn't perform well on irregular pavement, let alone on a trail. Tiny wheels on the front casters of standard wheelchairs are notorious for getting stuck or requiring additional effort or support to push through gravel, brickwork and other uneven surfaces.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Lucky me! I recently met Dan Cnossen, a Paralympic Nordic skier and biathlete who has been skiing at the Leo J. Martin Ski Track near Boston this winter.
As our Universal Access Program has started up for the season on site, I've been noticing Dan circling the course as I assist with program set up. It is wonderful to witness a Paralympic athlete moving with such power and grace mixed in with the usual Sunday crowd - families, couples, individuals, and young adults with autism who have been making up the bulk of our program so far. For further information on adaptive skiing opportunities at the Leo J. Martin Ski Track in Weston see the end of this post.
Dan's recent history is easy to convey in a few words: Navy Seal. Lt. Commander. Purple Heart. Bronze Star. Sochi Winter Paralympics. Dan lost his lower legs in Afghanistan in 2009 but this didn't slow down his forward momentum for long. Previously based in Colorado where he has continued to work with the Seals as well as train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Dan is in Massachusetts working on a masters degree and making the most out of local snow.