The donation from the Wim and Nancy Pauw Foundation will go towards RMA’s U CAN Try-It Camps, a new adaptive ski program for beginners who want to try alpine sit-skiing, skiing and snowboarding.
Jamie McCulloch, RMA executive director, said the funding could potentially be life-changing to some joining the camps.
"As a charity that's trying to make all mountain sport accessible to people of all abilities, we were in a situation with these uncertain times where we can promote outdoor sport safely," said McCulloch. "Everyone, no matter what abilities they have, what their background is, have the opportunity to equally enjoy winter sports in the Canadian Rockies this winter."
The one- and two-day camps are free with the local private foundation donation and will cover the cost of lift tickets, equipment rentals and fitting, and guided lessons by a RMA instructor. Camps will be at Banff’s Sunshine Village Ski Resort.
Last spring, RMA was forced to close briefly and during this time a high demand of people were requesting to “stay mobile, recreate outside, and try new activities” started flooding McCulloch’s email.
“Obviously, funding became a quick challenge as our typical fundraising events were cancelled and some traditional donors and granting streams dried up,” said McCulloch.
“We worked hard with limited staff and volunteers to make our adaptive services COVID-safe, so we could continue to create fun and memorable experiences, as people sought ways to get out into the mountains.”
The local charity has worked hard to remove barriers in sport and recreation for those living with physical and cognitive disabilities for the past decade and seen success every time those they supported take to the mountains on their own terms.
A priority for the Pauw foundation is supporting affordable, active lifestyles, which makes its partnership with RMA a natural fit.
“Rocky Mountain Adaptive offers memorable recreational experiences, focused on inclusion and eliminating barriers," said Cathy Geisler, executive director of the Wim & Nancy Pauw Foundation. "With financial and wellness needs at an all time high, we are thrilled to partner with RMA to make this Try-It Camp program available,”
The first two-day camp is Nov. 21-22 and first one-day camp is Dec. 3.
Visit rockymountainadaptive.com to view a full list of dates.