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Adaptive skiing part of Empire State Game events

A skater at the 2011 Winter Empire State Games.

A skater at the 2011 Winter Empire State Games.

— The purpose of the clinic is, “to introduce people to racing who could be interested in competing in adaptive events,” event organizer Jeff Erenstone of Mountain Orthotic and Prosthetic Services in Lake Placid, said.

“We may have some first timers, but they have expressed an interest in competing.”

Erenstone also stated that many of the participants are wounded veterans who are being flown in from around the country through a grant through the U.S. Paralympic Team. Erenstone expects to have about 15 participants.

This is the first year that adaptive biathlon has been included in the Empire State Winter Games, and the second year for cross country skiing. Whether or not other adaptive sports could get added to the winter games’ schedule in future years is up to each sport individually.

“That depends on the facilitators for each sport,” Kathy Pfohl, program director for the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism in Lake Placid, which coordinates the winter games, said.

Despite the focus on competition of the games and these current adaptive events, Dew is quick to make clear that Whiteface Mountain will continue to offer many adaptive alpine events with a noncompetitive focus as well.

“We are not losing that focus at all,” Dew said. “We want to provide a service for the entire population, so that people can progress as best they can within their own abilities.”

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