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NAC celebrates Ability Ski Challenge

by Adia Waldburger, of the Record staff

For Paralympic athlete Eric Bayindirli, it’s always a nice change to be part of a race that is no pressure and pure fun. That is why, for the past 19 years, the disabled skier has taken part in the National Ability Center’s (NAC) Ability Ski Challenge.

"It’s always great to have a fun race with no pressure," Bayindirli said.

It is also a chance to give back to the program that has given the wheelchair-bound Bayindirli so much.

"I live here and the program helps me out, so it’s the least I can do to be part of the event," Bayindirli said.

The event, which is sponsored by Zions Bank, is one of the major fundraisers for the NAC, a non-profit organization committed to providing recreational opportunities for people of all abilities.

The event, which takes place on Saturday, March 31, pairs celebrities, disabled athletes and four able-bodied participants on one team. There are 20 teams in all that compete for the championship. According to NAC Outreach Manager Jessica Kunzer, some of the featured ski legends and celebrities will be Stein Eriksen, Heidi Volker, Picabo Street, Jeremy Nobis and Kristi and Karen Terzan.

"The race really embodies our mission," Kunzer said. "All abilities are exhibited."

Kunzer said that there will be different prizes awarded for the fastest celebrity, fastest host and team member.

Michael Brodsky, a board member, whose company, Hamlet Homes, sponsors the proceeding Red, White and Snow culinary event has also been a part of the ski event since its inception. He calls himself the "designated gimp" on his racing team. Brodsky lost his leg in a car accident in 1973 and says that he supports the NAC because it helps people live as functioning beings in the world. He added that the highlight of the event for him is spending time with members of the community.

"The camaraderie it’s getting together with all types of people involved with the NAC," Brodsky said. "It’s just a celebration of what the NAC is all about."

The Ability Ski Challenge precedes the Red, White, and Snow event, which takes place on Saturday evening. The ski challenge is $250 per person or $1,000 per team and all proceeds benefit the National Ability Center. Registration is at 8 a.m. and the race begins at 9 a.m. The event is free and open to the public for spectating. For more information or questions about the entire weekend, contact Jen Atkins. Jennifera@discovernac.org or call 200-0985.


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