Courage Kenny Institute Hosts Annual Great Lake Mono-Ski Race Camp

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: February 28, 2018 06:45 PM

DULUTH - The Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute hosted its’ 15th annual Great Lake Mono-Ski, Nordic and Race Camp Wednesday. The three day camp is the largest adapted learn-to-ski event in the Midwest.

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The Northland institute is part of Allina Health. The event is focused on giving skiers with disabilities self-confidence and also encourages a healthy and active lifestyle.

Blake Eaton, a mono-ski participant, has been participating at the camp and race for a while.

"Well it's cool for people to see that us, we can do it, and do it just as well, if not better than them," Eaton said.

The adaptive skiing allows for the skiers to be 100 percent independent. Mono-ski is not the easiest to master though. It's more challenging to learn compared to traditional skiing.

Mark Hanna, the program coordinator of the Northland Courage Kenny Institute, said the mono-ski gear allows the participants to control their movements going down the slope.

"They're on one single ski, they have two hand held outriggers that helps propel themselves on the flat and then also loading and unloading from the chairlifts," Hanna said.

The event is for ages eight and up. About 20 participants join the annual camp.

"We really serve people of all backgrounds and they're all different ages of participants here, and everybody's just here having a fun time learning a great skill, enjoying being around other people and learning other sorts of life skills," Hanna said.

Staff, instructors, and volunteers work closely with the skiers.

Tim Perala, a volunteer, has been part of the annual ski event for six years.

"You get to see a lot of the same faces every year as they progress and they get older and improve their skiing and just getting together, its just been an annual really fun event," Perala said.

The connections skiers make and the growth of the participants is what makes the annual event so special.

"There's a whole level of mentorship that happens at this camp that goes way beyond the skiing," Hanna said.

On the last day of the event, the skiers participate in a race competition. Their new and improved skills are observed and critiqued by instructors and peers.



Alejandra Palacios

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