U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), and Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club (AVSC) announced the creation of the Paralympic Development Program – Aspen, the first Paralympic Development Program for alpine skiing in the United States.
Kevin Jardine, head coach of USOC’s Paralympic Veterans Alpine Skiing Program, which includes injured military and veteran athletes, will work collaboratively with AVSC in leading this joint effort.
“I’m proud to be part of this first collaborative Paralympic ski racing program in the country,” Jardine stated in a press release.
Together, USOC and AVSC will provide coaching and training support to military, veteran and non-veteran Paralympic athletes. The team will also train alongside able-bodied athletes during the course of the season.
“The announcement of this partnership is due to outstanding leadership at AVSC,” Charlie Huebner, chief of Paralympics, stated. “Together our goals are to provide more opportunities for kids, injured service members and veterans to excel in skiing, hopefully culminating in podium finishes at future Paralympic Games. By partnering, we can increase our impact and reach, making the program extremely cost efficient with a focus on excellence.”
The program is based in Aspen and athletes will compete in the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) North American Cup races throughout the United States and Canada.
“We’re excited to welcome Kevin, the other talented staff and the outstanding athletes associated with Paralympic skiing here in Aspen to be part of this joint USOC/AVSC Paralympic Development Program,” Mark Cole, AVSC executive director, stated. “We appreciate the fact that Houston and Challenge Aspen incubated the precursor to this program for several years and we’re honored to be the ones entrusted to take it to the next level.”