For most Michiganders, this weekend’s snowstorms offered an excuse to indulge in the comforts of the indoors. But not for the dozens of adaptive winter athletes participating in adaptive skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snowshoeing, and other outdoor activities at Challenge Mountain’s 30th Anniversary Winter Festival.

Challenge Mountain is a nonprofit organization that fosters adapted outdoor recreation and sports therapy opportunities for individuals with a range of physical and mental disabilities. Based in Boyne City, Michigan, Challenge Mountain offers an outstanding environment for year-round recreational therapy and sports therapy—their winter, summer, and transition season programs facilitate adaptive water sports, snow sports, biking, camping, and more. To learn more about how Challenge Mountain makes outdoor recreation accessible for participants with physical, mental, social, cognitive, and emotional impairments, visit their webpage here.

Recreational Therapy & Adaptive Equipment

Gaylord Cerebral Palsy Resources - Challenge MountainPatients with handicaps, disabilities, and challenges are often required to participate in painful and time-consuming treatment and therapy programs. Because traditional therapy regimens leave patients with fewer opportunities to explore their own interests and abilities, treatment and therapy programs can often feel unfulfilling. For these patients, recreational therapy presents a much-needed change of pace.

Recreational therapy, a form of physical rehabilitation that targets recreation as the primary means of therapy, allows children and adults to explore hobbies, interests, and talents as they work towards their personal therapeutic goals. Where more traditional forms of therapy often fail to harness a patient’s full attention and enthusiasm, the implementation of adaptive activities based on therapeutic training involves patients in a more interesting and energizing way.

As modern science and technology progress, the adaptive equipment and assistive technologies used to augment recreational therapy becomes more advanced and accessible. Specialized art supplies, sports equipment, toys, games, and supports allow children and adults with conditions like cerebral palsy, blindness, brain damage, and paralysis to more freely and independently participate in activities of their choosing. And, for the hundreds of individuals requiring therapy in Michigan, these recreational activities often include the adaptive sports made possible by Boyne City’s Challenge Mountain.

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