Twenty years ago, some passionate local members of the ski community, came together to provide snow opportunities to members of the community with disabilities. Today, Oregon Adaptive Sports (OAS) is the premiere adaptive sports organization in the Pacific Northwest providing a range of year-round programs.
1996: Oregon Adaptive Sports had its beginnings in 1996 when Jack Alexander, a retired biologist with the U.S. Forest Service and Kendall Cook an adaptive ski instructor from the Tahoe area gathered a number of dedicated volunteers to begin a grass-roots adaptive program aimed at sharing their love of skiing and the outdoors with disable persons who needed assistance on the mountain. From 1996 to 2003, the organization was known as the Central Oregon Adaptive Skiing Program (COASP) and was managed and funded primarily by Mr. Alexander, with sponsorship and other assistance from Central Oregon Resources for Independent Living (CORIL).
2003: In the summer of 2003, the early founders and volunteers recognized the need to revamp the organization to allow it more autonomy and maximize its potential for growth. This group teamed up with local volunteers and Bend Parks and Recreation and renamed the organization Oregon Adaptive Sports, which was incorporated on December 23, 2003 as a non-profit public benefit corporation in the State of Oregon. At this time, OAS was also accepted as a chapter organization of Disabled Sports USA, a nationwide non-profit group offering sports rehabilitation programs to persons with a permanent disability. OAS received designation as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization through inclusion in DS/USA’s blanket approval.
In the first few years of the program, OAS conducted its skiing activities at Mt. Bachelor Ski Area. In 2003, Hoodoo Ski Area invited OAS to locate its programs at Hoodoo’s recently-expanded base lodge. At that time, Hoodoo’s new facilities offered the advantages of an easily accessible and ADA-compliant base lodge, secure equipment storage, and mountain terrain well-suited to the needs of adaptive skiers. Additionally, Hoodoo is proximately located for skiers coming from the Willamette Valley communities of Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, and Portland, where many OAS participants reside.
At the same time that OAS was expanding its reach to Hoodoo, officials at Mt. Bachelor also recognized the benefits of having a formal adaptive ski instruction program at the Northwest’s largest ski area and asked OAS about increasing its presence. Beginning in the 2007-2008 ski season, OAS began to offer a full range of adaptive programs and lessons also at Mt. Bachelor, greatly expanding the level of participation. As a full-service destination ski area, Mt. Bachelor draws skiers and their families from all over the West Coast. While the terrain at Mt. Bachelor is more challenging to adaptive skiers, the variety and extensive services make the resort attractive for a multi-day vacation. By offering full programs at both mountains, OAS can serve a larger number of participants and offer a larger variety of programs, skill levels and events.
2011: OAS is proud of its growth to date and especially proud of its partnerships with both Mt. Bachelor and Hoodoo. In the fall of 2011, OAS hired its first Executive Director and acquired its first office space. The Summer of 2012 brought with it US Paralympic Sport Club status and the first pilots of summer sports in golf and kayaking.
2013: OAS expanded on summer sports pilots in the summer of 2013 with more golf and kayaking, as well as cycling, deaf disc golf and nature hikes. In addition, OAS launched its first annual Heroes in Sunriver event.
2014: Initiation of our first summer youth day Camp OASIS for children with intellectual disabilities.
Today OAS is proud to offer year-round outdoor adaptive programs.