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40 Years of Memories at the Adaptive Sports Foundation

For 40-straight winters, the Adaptive Sports Foundation has been providing adaptive ski and snowboard lessons to people with cognitive and physical disabilities. The ASF has welcomed thousands of students, parents and volunteers into our community, and with them come thousands of smiles, laughs and cherished memories. 

Hear from some of our active volunteers as they share what their favorite ASF memories are!

Kenneth Bravmann

To me, my best memory is really the end of every lesson. I enjoy seeing the students accomplish something every time they come to the ASF. They are always so happy that they have been out skiing! If I had to choose just one lesson, I would say it would be the lesson I had with a young woman named Allie. Judy, the lead instructor, knew Allie very well. It was very warming to see Allie improve her skills and how much she loved skiing.

Emily Calamita

My first memory of the ASF is when my daughter Olivia was one of the first Ride2Live participants. The following year she was invited back to hand out medals to the new participants. Olivia was so excited and proud! But my favorite memory is one that continues every year – hanging out in the lodge with friends that have become family! I love volunteering to make hot chocolate, serve as a cashier at lunch and just supporting all the wonderful events! I can’t imagine our lives without the ASF!

WIM Yoga Class (photo courtesy of Patricia D’Angelo)

Patricia D’Angelo

I used to teach a yoga class during the Bob Stubbs Warriors in Motion Winter Sports Weekend. I wasn’t expecting this specific Warrior to show up at class, as he was a double amputee. He had the best attitude ever. He came on time, was prepared, worked hard and always had a smile. It was a very humbling experience for me.

ASF Race Team at the Special Olympics (photo courtesy of NYS Special Olympics)

Sandy Desmond

One of my favorite memories was actually more recent at this year’s New York State Special Olympics Winter Games at Greek Peak in Syracuse. It was a fantastic day filled with triumphs, ASF team spirit and lots of fun! Coach Mary and I were so proud of our five athletes. The parents played a key role in helping throughout the weekend, making for a true team effort.

Jim Foster

Jim Foster with Allison Forstmann (photo courtesy of Allison Forstmann)

I had a student a few years ago that I struggled to make much progress with. He was a 12–14-year-old young man on the autism spectrum who presented quite a barrier to effective communication. I tried everything to get through to him and succeeded only in aggravating him to the point of complete resistance. In frustration, I decided to simply ski with him. While he made no real progress in his skiing, we got many vertical feet of skiing in by the end of the day. I filled out the student evaluation, feeling myself a complete failure. The next weekend at the ASF, Ginny called me aside and said that we had received a letter from the student saying that “it was the best day of his life”. In realizing that the lesson was not just about my feelings, it was rejuvenating to me and it rededicated me to the ASF process which emphasizes FUN over learning. Some days we ski and some days we make snow angels; both exercises are beneficial if our student goes home happy!

Eric Hoffmaster

My favorite memory is from the very last day this season when so many of our students and their families danced the night away at Seasons in joyful celebration of another successful year at the ASF. This community is something special.

An early photo of Charlie Kleiman snowboarding

Laurie Kleiman

One of my favorite ASF memories is actually my first ASF memory. Shortly after the turn of the century, Jon Gross invited us to Windham Mountain for the first time. I went to the ski school to sign Charlie up for a lesson with my usual request: “My son is the sweetest person you will ever meet, but he has some challenges and will need an instructor who is patient and creative…” The front desk staff person politely asked, “do you know about the Adaptive program?” We did not.  We were directed to the tiny ASF office – to which some of us lovingly refer as “the Closet.” Ginny instantly made us feel welcome. When Ginny asked what Charlie’s disability was, we replied with the usual litany of nonspecific issues that make some tasks difficult for him. We didn’t have a specific diagnosis, so just to be safe, Ginny sent Charlie out with five – count ‘em, five – volunteer ski instructors. They made Charlie feel like a superhero who could do anything. After that extraordinary day, we were hooked. Charlie quickly went from five instructors to two to one and became a pretty good intermediate skier – until he decided to switch to snowboarding, earned a spot on the ASF Snowboard Race Team and signed up for instructor training. Norman, Daryl and Gabe all became ASF instructors. I volunteered in the lodge, the kids’ room and ultimately the kitchen, and then in 2020 proudly joined the ASF Board of Trustees. The Kleiman family now has decades of happy ASF memories, but it all started with that serendipitous introduction to Ginny.

Jay Lehman

I was on a lesson assisting Phil on Wooly Bear and our student’s name was Hudson. We challenged Hudson to “slalom” all seven cones we put down from the top to the bottom of the slope. Hudson loves football, so we had him pretend the cones were linebackers and he had to weave between them as he skied the football to the end zone. He tried several times and toward the end of the lesson he did it! After steering past the last cone, he “spiked” his glove like a football in the endzone! TOUCHDOWN! I teared up watching him achieve his goal! Love the ASF!

Rose Lindstrom

Volunteers Rose Lindstrom, Peter Colquitt and Nora Muratori with student Farryl Fishman

My favorite memory would have to be this year’s Ralph Hartman Tribute Cup! The morning of the Hartman, I was working with Farryl Fishman, and I was instructing with Peter Colquitt and my amazing friend Nora Muratori. Before the race Farryl was trying so hard to nail the course, but she was having a difficult time navigating it and she got really frustrated. After many pep-talks from us and her family, Farryl had an astounding race and did a perfect run on the course for the first time that day! I was so proud of her, and the rest of the day was so much fun!

Ed Maher

Patrick Brown took an incredible step during the 2023-2024 season, making turns on his own. I recall Patrick attending the ASF in early grade school as a non-verbal student. He is now a teenager, and his snowboarding has dramatically improved. The commitment his parents made to getting him to Windham every weekend, year after year, was inspirational. All veteran snowboard instructors will tell the same story. Dozens of days learning off skis, then dozens doing hand to hand. We finally adapted to guiding Patrick from behind to minimize his reliance on the instructor. Patrick is now making turns on his own and on the verge of boarding with complete independence. I am looking forward to the 2024-2025 season and seeing that milestone.

Diego Munoz

Diego Munoz’s student Ollie Pearson

This winter during the Bob Stubbs Warriors in Motion Winter Sports Weekend, I met six-year-old Oliver. He would wait for me at the top of the steps to come up from the locker room, and ask everyone with whom he came in contact, “have you seen Diego?”. He was quite a character. While out on the slopes learning to snowboard, Ollie and I saw tiny footprints in the snow on the bridge. I told Ollie they were probably from gnomes. I explained that gnomes were little forest creatures who were friends with animals; we can’t see them, but they can see us. Ollie was fascinated. After our day of lessons, it was adorable when Ollie greeted his parents excitedly that not only did he have the best time and loved snowboarding, he also got to see where gnomes live. It’s a fond memory that I will cherish because Ollie was so intrigued by snowboarding, nature and the “gnomes” who call Windham Mountain home. 

Richard Pallisco

As a first-year volunteer at the ASF, I experienced the most heartwarming sight. We had a student who wanted to experience skiing so bad and said it was on her bucket list. After helping her into a bi-ski, traversing down the White Way trail and seeing the smile on her face and the joyous screaming made me feel blessed. I am looking forward to the 2025 season and grateful to be part of the Adaptive Sports Foundation.

David Rhodes:

It was early in my time with the ASF. My co-instructor (a doctor) and I reviewed the intake for a young woman in her 20s who was born without a femur on both sides. We were flummoxed and wondered whether she would need a bi-ski (neither of us were competent to lead a 

bi-ski lesson). Then she came into ASF with her mom and grandmother with a big smile, swinging between crutches and ready for whatever life would bring. It was a challenge to get her feet into ski boots, but once we did we headed down to Wooly Bear. Mom & Grandma asked if they could watch, so they hid outside in a corner of the lodge as we prepared our student for her first straight run. She was all excitement and smiles while her grandma and mom were crying tears of joy. Mom told me through tears that they never dreamed their daughter would ski. In another era, she would have had both legs amputated at birth, but that day she was skiing!


Anita Buyers has been volunteering with the ASF for as long as the ASF has been around, meaning she has 40 years of fond memories. She provided photographs of one of her favorite memories, the construction and opening of the Gwen Allard Adaptive Sports Center in 2005, which can be found below.

ASF’s first chairman Harvey Silverman breaking ground with Charlie McGuffog
The construction of the ASF lodge. ASF Volunteers were allowed to sign the rafters!
Gwen Allard and Harvey Silverman cutting the ribbon for the lodge’s grand opening!
While delivering furniture to the lodge this tractor trailer fell off our winding driveway! This is why we have a sign preventing big trucks from visiting us!