Butler County Times Gazette
  • Williams helps disabled learn to ski at annual Hartford Ski Spectacular

  • When he was four years old, Will Williams started skiing. He has enjoyed the sport ever since, and for the past five years, he has been helping those with disabilities discover how much fun it is.
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  • When he was four years old, Will Williams started skiing. He has enjoyed the sport ever since, and for the past five years, he has been helping those with disabilities discover how much fun it is.
    Six years ago, after getting an ankle replacement, Williams was skiing.
    "I saw them with somebody in a chair and I asked about it," he said. "I've been involved ever since."
    His involvement includes an annual trip to Breckenridge, Colo. for the Hartford Ski Spectacular. This year's event took place Dec. 2-8.
    One of the nation's largest winter sports festivals for people with disabilities, the event offers learn to ski and snowboard lessons, a week-long race camp, Level I Race(Corporate Challenge), Nordic skiing, Free clinics (in Nordic skiing, Biathlon, curling, and sled hockey), PSIA National Adaptive Academy for Instructors, banquets, and other networking events.
    "There were over 400 people at this year's event," said Williams.
    In addition to wounded military members, those in attendance included autistic children and people with mental and physical disabilities.
    "It's pretty amazing," said Williams. "This year I had a young gentleman who had been deployed three times. He had gotten injured his first deployment. He had never skied before, and by the third day he was able to ski on his own."
    In addition to helping other ski, Williams, who has previously worked as a ski instructor in upstate New York, was able to attend ski classes during the week.
    "I attended clinics to better learn how to help those people with disabilities whether they're mental or physical," he said.
    Williams holds several certifications for teaching those with disabilities to ski, and he hopes to add a certification to help blind skiers.
    "To take somebody who normally wouldn't enjoy it and get them back out there is pretty rewarding," said Williams. "I am able to help people plus I'm doing something I love."
    Williams is accepting donations from anyone who would like to help him out with expenses, which usually run close to $800 for the week he spends in Colorado.
    Anyone who is interested in making a contribution can stop by Williams' office at SI Memorials, 107 S. Arthur, or mail a check.

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