Each year the Aspen ski and snowboard school conducts a series of five-day camps for children and adults with autism spectrum disorder.
These Extreme Sports Camps, as the Aspen-based program is called, are all-day outings that provide fun activities, one-on-one ski or snowboard lessons for full or half days and/or ski buddies for those desiring companionship, shadow support or additional assistance on the slopes.
The Camps' counsellors are PSIA-certified adaptive instructors, proficient in skiing and boarding. Both pros and buddies have been extensively trained in autism and operate under the direction of Doug Gilstrap, an Aspen Skiing Company instructor who has 14 years' experience in adaptive skiing.
The Camps welcome autistic people of all ages and all skiing, snowboarding, and/or athletic abilities. Each session is Monday-Friday, starting at 8:30 a.m. and lasting until the mid to late afternoon. Activities include skiing or snowboarding as well as après-ski ice skating, swimming, and/or bowling.
The next Extreme Sports Camp is scheduled for March 9-13, with the season's final session slated for April 6-10.
Each Camp session costs $1,500, and the fee includes ski and snowboard equipment rental, lift and lesson ticket, lunch, and after-skiing activities. Housing, however, is not provided.