Race day at Powderhorn supports Colorado Discover Ability, empowers others

A racer on a sit-ski takes off down the Giant Slalom course during the 2010 Colorado Discover Ability Ski Challenge Race at Powderhorn. This year’s all-comer’s event, the winter fundraiser for CDA, takes place Saturday with registration starting at 8 a.m., racing at 10.

Chani Capps heading out for a ski run with CDA volunteer Dave Rosen of Hotchkiss. Capps suffered a severe spinal cord injury in 2008 and it was thought she would never walk again but she now walks, skis and attends Mesa State Colege.

There’s something to be said about skiing as a village.

Maybe you remember Chani Capps, the Grand Junction resident who in 2008 suffered a spinal cord injury in a rollover car crash.

Initially told by physicians that she perhaps would never walk again, Chani today is up and around, walking on her own and getting on with her life as a Mesa State College student and avid skier.

Her recovery could be termed miraculous, except that would slight the countless hours of physical therapy, emotional stress and plain hard work Chani put in while overcoming this seemingly insurmountable challenge.

She said a large part of her recovery came through the time she spent with Colorado Discover Ability, the Grand Junction-based nonprofit that offers year-round adaptive recreation opportunities.

“I came across CDA relatively soon after I got home from Craig (Rehabilitation Hospital in Denver),” Chani said earlier this week during a break from her studies. “I was looking for a way to normalize my life and to be able to believe in the fact I could still do things.”

She said she was “raised on skis” and the accident left her wondering if she would ever ski again.

“I was a pretty aggressive skier and that was something I couldn’t imagine doing again for a long time,” said Chani, whose name comes from the 1965 science fiction novel “Dune” by Frank Herbert.

“But then CDA comes along and they were offering something that not only was more challenging but also real empowering and exactly what I needed for my self-confidence.

“Now, I can’t imagine sitting around and not skiing,” she said.

Just as no one successfully recovers from a severe accident or overcomes an emotional, learning or physical challenge without some assistance, Colorado Discover Ability can’t operate in a vacuum.

Which is where you come in.

Your time and energy are invaluable in helping CDA meets its goal of providing a variety of outdoor activities.

But your money counts, too.

Saturday is the 15th annual Colorado Discover Ability Ski & Snowboard Challenge at Powderhorn Ski Resort.

It’s a day to enjoy Powderhorn’s great snow, ski or board with your friends in NASTAR-style races on Wonderbump, and participate in a major fundraiser for Colorado Discover Ability.

Anyone (over the age of 6) can enter, even if you have no prior racing experience and think a giant slalom is a race with really big competitors.

Registration at the base lodge begins at 8 a.m. with the first racers leaving the gate around 10 a.m.

Entry fees are $60 for individuals or $200 for a four-person team.

Get more information at the Colorado Discover Ability website: http://www.coloradodiscoverability.org. You can also find info at http://www.powderhorn.com.

Your fee gets you two runs on the GS course on Wonderbump, a full-day lift ticket (normally $56), lunch (saving another $10) and, of course, the chance to win a medal or two and brag about it for a year (priceless).

There also is a silent auction, with goodies such as great ski gear, a Never Summer snowboard and four tickets to Silverton Mountain (if you haven’t yet skied Silverton, here’s a hint: buckle your boots tight).

Plus, the opportunity to meet the people who make CDA so special, including the many participants and the we-couldn’t-do-it-without-them volunteers.

The people at Colorado Discover Ability “were really incredible to work with and they were so excited to help me find out I could still do exciting things, challenging things,” Chani said. “They have so many great volunteers who love what they do.”

One thing you’ll discover is that skiing offers freedom a disabled person doesn’t find in a wheelchair.

As does rafting, biking and the many other activities CDA provides at no charge.

Remember, too, this is a village, and a village needs the support of every member.

“It was her experience at CDA that gave her the courage to try different things, like going to college and doing different things during the day,” said Susan Capps, Chani’s mom. “But it isn’t just about Chani, there are a lot of great stories at CDA.”

Your support makes those great stories happen.

See you Saturday at Powderhorn.


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