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Disabled Sports USA to Host Wounded Warriors, Boston Marathon Survivors and U.S. Paralympians at The Hartford Ski Spectacular

28th annual event is nation's largest winter sports festival for people with disabilities

/EIN News/ -- ROCKVILLE, MD., Nov. 17, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Disabled Sports USA (DSUSA) will host the 28th annual The Hartford Ski Spectacular Nov. 30 – Dec. 6 at Beaver Run Resort and Breckenridge Ski Resort, Breckenridge, Colo. The week-long event, sponsored by The Hartford, is the nation's largest winter sports festival for individuals with physical disabilities. More than 800 participants, ranging in ability from first-time skiers to members of the U.S. Paralympic Team, will come together. Also attending will be more than 100 wounded service members from U.S. and Great Britain, Boston Marathon bombing survivors, U.S. Paralympic champions such as gold medalists Alana Nichols and Evan Strong, and young U.S. Paralympic hopefuls. 

Among the participating athletes will be Retired U.S. Army Captain Will Reynolds, who was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device in 2004, causing him to lose his left leg.  After getting involved in adaptive sports through Disabled Sports USA's Warfighter Sports program, Reynolds has become a mentor to newly injured military and young adaptive athletes.

"Adaptive sports, played a prominent role in my recovery and rehabilitation process," said Reynolds. "Sports allowed me to regain confidence in my physical abilities, and I'm honored to return to The Hartford Ski Spectacular to give back to other wounded veterans."

"We are again thrilled to partner with The Hartford, with the support of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and other generous supporters, to offer this premier event and kick off the winter season," says Kirk Bauer, JD, executive director of DSUSA. "The Hartford Ski Spectacular is an ideal event for individuals with disabilities to get world-class instruction in skiing and snowboarding and is just one of the many examples of how our athletes are achieving their goals and gaining independence through sports post-injury."

"Learn to" programs in alpine and Nordic skiing, biathlon, sled hockey, curling and snowboarding will be offered.  In addition to these lessons, The Hartford Ski Spectacular also strengthens and expands adaptive snow sports programs in communities throughout the United States by training staff and volunteers at DSUSA chapters in the national adaptive academy.  The ski instructor academy endorsed by Professional Ski Instructors of America - American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI) offers training for instructors in the latest and safest adaptive ski and snowboard techniques for skiers with disabilities.

"For 22 years, The Hartford has been honored to partner with Disabled Sports USA on this inspiring event that showcases the world-class athleticism of U.S. Paralympians and the strength and resiliency of our wounded warriors," said Mike Concannon, executive vice president of The Hartford's Group Benefits business. "We hope everyone at The Hartford Ski Spectacular will become empowered with the resources and skills to achieve their goals and prevail."

The Hartford, a founding partner of U.S. Paralympics, has been the title sponsor of The Hartford Ski Spectacular since 1994. The Hartford Ski Spectacular's Presenting Sponsor is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Grants for Adaptive Sports Programs for Disabled Veterans and Disabled Members of the Armed Forces Program provides funding to organizations to increase, expand and enhance the quantity and quality of adaptive sport activities available for disabled veterans and members of the armed forces to participate in physical activity within their home communities, as well as more advanced U.S. Paralympic and adaptive sport programs at the regional and national levels.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Grand Junction VA Medical Center and the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic provide essential equipment and technical support to The Hartford Ski Spectacular. For more information on VA Adaptive Sports programs visit www.va.gov/adaptivesports.
The event is also sponsored by Wash Depot; Veritas; Bob Woodruff Foundation; Team Semper Fi; Tee it up for the Troops; DAV Charitable Service Trust; Fluor; Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center and Breckenridge Ski Resort.

Partnering organizations include: Professional Ski Instructors of America- American Association of Snowboard Instructors National Adaptive Academy (PSIAAASI), Vail Adaptive Sports, U.S. Paralympics, U.S. Paralympics Snowboarding, USA Curling, Colorado Adaptive Sports Foundation and Breck Sports. DSUSA chapters supporting the event include: Host chapter Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center, Education Chapter National Sports Center for the Disabled and chapters Adaptive Adventures, New England Disabled Sports, STRIDE Adaptive Sports, Wintergreen Adaptive Sports and Waterville Valley Adaptive Sports.

Follow the action at The Hartford Ski Spectacular on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Look for @DisabledSportUS and #skispec on Twitter and Disabled Sports USA on Facebook, as well as @TheHartford on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
 
About Disabled Sports USA
Founded in 1967, Disabled Sports USA is a national charitable organization that provides opportunities for individuals with disabilities to develop independence, confidence, and fitness through participation in sports. What began as a program to serve Vietnam veterans has since grown into one of the nation's largest multi-sport, multi-disability organizations, annually serving more than 60,000 wounded warriors, youth, and adults with disabilities. A member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, Disabled Sports USA offers programs in more than 30 summer and winter sports through its nationwide network of more than 100 community-based chapters. For more information, visit www.disabledsportsusa.org.
 
About The Hartford
With more than 200 years of expertise, The Hartford (NYSE:HIG) is a leader in property and casualty insurance, group benefits and mutual funds. The company is widely recognized for its service excellence, sustainability practices, trust and integrity. More information on the company and its financial performance is available at www.thehartford.com. Join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheHartford.  Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TheHartford.  

The Hartford® is The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries, including issuing companies, Hartford Life Insurance Company, and Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company. Its headquarters is in Hartford, Conn.
 

CONTACT: Karalyn Stott
         240.268.2180
         kstott@dsusa.org