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Stowe's Tour De Snow To Feature Adaptive Sports

What began as an effort to get the Stowe Recreation Path groomed for cross-country skiing has turned into a major four-day showcase for winter adaptive sports over Martin Luther King weekend.

Friends of Rec Path, a community organization, held the first Stowe Tour de Snow in 2011 to raise enough money to have the 5.3-mile path groomed for the winter. The event also raised enough awareness that the town agreed to take over winter grooming, according to Tour de Snow organizer Pascale Savard. With that mission accomplished, event organizers decided to use the proceeds to sponsor an in-school cross-country ski program, providing equipment and coaching for local students.

The Tour de Snow is a family event, with carnival-style games. The idea is to encourage families to get outside and have some fun, and maybe try something new. A few years ago, working with the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum and the Friends of Stowe Adaptive Sports, organizers decided to bring in adaptive ski equipment to demo during the Tour de Snow. And the adaptive activities grew from there.

Now there are four days of adaptive events, including at Sunday's  Tour de Snow. This year they start on Friday, Jan. 17 and run through Monday, Jan. 20. They are:

Friday, 8:25 a.m.
Community Meeting
Everyone is welcome at the Stowe Elementary School Gymnasium to meet Stowe’s Chris Tagatac as he talks about his Ekso Bionics “Wearable Robot” and demonstrates how it operates and helps him heal and find his new normal.

Saturday, 6 p.m. for participants, 7 p.m. for observers
Sled Hockey Clinic Patrick Standen, of Northeast Disabled Athletic Association, and his team, the Vermont Sled Cats, will host a sled hockey clinic at Stowe Arena. Anyone can come learn how to play sled hockey and sleds will be provided. Show up at the Stowe Arena at 6 p.m. to get suited and ready for play at 7 p.m.

Sunday, 12-3 p.m.
Stowe Tour de Snow Among the many family-friendly events at the Tour de Snow will be a cross-country sit ski clinic in Whiskers’ Field, at the intersection of Mountain Road (Rt. 108) and Cape Cod Road, in Stowe. Patrik Vijanen, of New England Nordic Ski Association, and Patrick Standen, of the Northeast Disabled Athletic Association, return for this fun event with cross-country sit skis. Ski with adaptive athletes and their families, and join in the fun, skiing around the oval in the field and taking part in the many games.

Monday, 9 a.m.
Friends of Stowe Adaptive Sports Alpine Sit Ski Clinic This event, at Stowe Mountain Resort, is exclusively for adaptive athletes. However, volunteers are needed and welcome to check out the gear, give a hand and be a part of the action. Volunteers should contact Pascale Savard for information or to sign up to help.