Challenged Athletes of West Virginia Seeking Volunteers

Do you like spending time in the outdoors, especially on the slopes in the winter? Do you like helping others? If you answered ‘yes’, then non-profit organization Challenged Athletes of West Virginia may have opportunities for you. We spoke with board member Nathan Magnuson to learn more.

“Challenged Athletes was established in 1996 and it’s basically just to provide outdoor sports opportunities for people with physical and cognitive disabilities.  Which could be skiing, snowboarding – we do some biking and whitewater rafting, camping and other things as well.  We actually have two bases now we have one in Timberline and at Snowshoe as well.  Snowshoe is the main program.

“I’ve been teaching since ‘94 I guess on a snowboard, which was pretty unprecedented at that time.  I got involved initially when I went to snowshoe back in ‘93/’94 before this program actually existed with the man that was running it back then, simply because I had a sister who is a paraplegic and I wanted her to be able to ski and I was like wow this is pretty awesome so I got involved so I could learn to help her. But it’s a pretty amazing thing that happens with the disabled skiing. People are able to do what able-bodied people are able to do without restriction. They can ski just as well as an able-bodied skier in many cases. The motto has been that we believe skiing is for anyone. There are certain restrictions that do end up coming into play with that, but basically it’s just that anyone who is willing and able would be able to get out on the hill and go skiing.

“The cost is basically by the lesson pass, and included with the lesson pass is your instructor and your lift ticket. It’s very reasonable for someone to be able to do it. And there may be some scholarship availability as well for someone who would not be able to afford to come otherwise.

“We’re seeking volunteers for the adaptive program which is this Saturday, it begins at 8:00 a.m. and we will be providing lunch on Saturday, and then it’ll go again on Sunday 8:00 a.m. until noon. We would just be looking at the various disciplines that you may be experiencing as a volunteer; be it stand-up skiing, sit-down skiing, snowboarding, visually impaired, whatever, we’ll pretty much cover all the different aspects of skiing that we would cover in a year. One thing and we’ve had happen with the program over the years is a lot of us have aged a good bit. I began when I was 23 years old, I believe, and I’m now 49 and likewise a lot of other people have gotten much older, so we’re hoping to find some younger volunteers. We even have a junior program that we’re going to start trying to implement where we would be using, well, even under 16 to come along and learn and get equipped to be able to, when they are old enough, to be able to begin being instructors as well.”

“Requirements are minimal.

“Be able to reasonably ski and snowboard; no instruction experience would be necessary but, or even is they are not that apt right now we do training throughout the year to help people improve their skiing abilities, or snowboarding, it’s not just skiing. We are going to have a minimum number of days to work because there are benefits for being a volunteer. In the past its basically you get employee benefits for the season. But even if someone could only come just a few days a year they would get a lift ticket for the day that they’re working.

“For more information…

“We do have a website You could call Carol Woody as well. She is the new program director that has just taken over this year. Her phone number is 304-572-6708. Email for her would be

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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