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A new way down the mountain: Adaptive program at Ski Sundown keeps skiers with disabilities on the slopes

Hartford Courant

By Lori Reily

JAN 31, 2021 AT 6:00 AM

NEW HARTFORD — Nick Napoli likes to move fast. Within a year of his spinal cord injury from a freak dirt bike accident that left his legs paralyzed, Napoli had bought a quad, and a car, and learned how to drive again.

Last year, he took up skiing for the first time.

“I like going fast, the adrenaline and all that,” said Napoli, 26, of Orange. “That’s kind of what attracted me to it. Most of my friends ski. It looked like fun.”

So Saturday, there he was, getting boosted onto the chairlift and riding up to the top of the mountain as part of the Stride adaptive skiing program at Ski Sundown.

It was his fourth time on a mono-ski, in which the skier is strapped into a bucket-type seat with one ski attached to the bottom and uses his or her weight and adaptive poles to steer and stop the ski.

“I had a lot of fun,” said Napoli, who is a tech ed teacher at Pomperaug High. “It’s a challenge for sure. I love it.”