COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) is pleased to announce they are hosting their annual winter ski camp in Breckenridge, Colorado, from Thursday, March 5 through Saturday, March 7, thanks to generous support from the Anthem Life Insurance Company. The USABA is partnering with the Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center for lodging, and the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center (BOEC) to obtain assistance from trained ski guides – the ski guides are a key element for athletes who are blind and visually impaired. This year the USABA and the Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center will provide alpine skiing and Nordic skiing in the Rocky Mountains for teens and adults, including veterans and active duty service members, who are blind and visually impaired.
“The goal of this program is to provide skiers who are blind and visually impaired with a chance to get out on the mountain and experience the thrill of alpine and Nordic skiing. We believe that by providing additional resources and skills, our participants will continue to ski at their nearest ski resorts, and that this event sparks the desire to compete,” said Mark Lucas, USABA’s executive director.
United States Marine Corp veteran Richard Hunter is the guest speaker at this year’s event. Hunter was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, which is an inherited disease where the light-sensitive retina of the eye progressively degenerates and results in blindness; however, this has not kept him from accomplishing amazing goals. Hunter is a four-time Boston Marathon Age Group Qualifier. He is ranked as the third fastest visually impaired person in North America to participate in the 70.3 Ironman distance. He is the second visually impaired person to complete the full Ironman in less than 12 hours. And, he completed the 2014 Sharkfest Alcatraz Swim and the 2013 American River 50 Mile Endurance Run. In addition, he was just selected as the 2014 Road Runners Club of America’s Outstanding Challenged Athlete Award recipient.
“It’s totally inspiring to hear about Richard’s many accomplishments,” said Pam Kehaly, president of Anthem Inc.’s Specialty Business and West Region. “We’re committed to helping people with disabilities get back to living and enjoying a healthy lifestyle. Sponsoring programs such as this ski event gives us a great way to support individuals and families who’ve overcome a variety of obstacles.”
Trained guides and instructors are provided by the Breckenridge Outdoor Educational Center, a Colorado non-profit organization that is committed to expanding the potential of people with disabilities and special needs through meaningful, educational and inspiring outdoor experiences.
“This event has numerous positive outcomes for everyone who’s involved,” said Kehaly. “People who are visually impaired learn new skills so they can maintain an active lifestyle, and attendees get to interact with Richard, who is such a fantastic role model.”
For more information, or for a schedule of events, contact Ryan Ortiz at (719) 866-3224, or go to www.usaba.org.
About United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA)
Since its founding in 1976, USABA, a community-based organization of the United States Olympic Committee, has reached more than 100,000 blind individuals. The organization has emerged as more than just a world-class trainer of blind athletes, it has become a champion of the abilities of Americans who are legally blind. USABA's mission: to enhance the lives of blind and visually impaired people by providing the opportunity for participation in sports and physical activity. For more information go to www.usaba.org.
About Anthem Life
Life and Disability products underwritten by Anthem Life Insurance Company, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.