On December 15, 2021

Vermont Adaptive’s new $2.5 million Adaptive Sports Facility to open at Sugarbush

Ribbon cutting slated for Dec. 17, public open house Dec. 18-19

Officials from Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports will officially open the doors to their second permanent home in Vermont, Murphy’s Annex at Vermont Adaptive – Mt. Ellen, Sugarbush, with a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday, Dec. 17 at 11 a.m. An open house will be held Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 18-19 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. Volunteers, athletes, local residents, state and local officials, donors, and the general public are invited to attend these events, which will showcase this second-of-its-kind in Vermont, state-of-the-art adaptive sports facility.


Courtesy of Vermont Adaptive
A shot shows mid-construction of the multi-year project.

Programs officially start for the season for Vermont Adaptive on Dec. 26.

For more than 20 years, Vermont Adaptive has partnered with Sugarbush Resort at Mt. Ellen, using 400 sq. ft. of borrowed space in the Mt. Ellen base lodge to operate its programs. The new 4,000 sq. ft. facility has been in the making for about three years and was scheduled to open last winter. Due to the pandemic, officials weren’t able to break ground until this past spring.

“The outpouring of support for creating this facility has been amazing,” said Erin Fernandez, executive director of Vermont Adaptive. “We can’t even begin to thank everyone who has been involved in the project. We have not quite reached our fundraising goal yet and still need help and donations, but we are making progress on the last $250,000 every day. Most importantly, though, it’s the athletes who will benefit from that generosity and support. Sports are for every body. This building symbolizes that and will provide a training outlet and playground for those athletes to pursue their dreams, whatever those may be, on a year-round basis.”

The new facility includes three floors for adaptive sports programming, retreats, veterans’ programs, workshops, and wellness seminars as well as the following:

  • Elevator to all three floors
  • Year-round storage for adaptive equipment
  • Bag and gear storage space
  • Connecting pathways to Sugarbush’s main base lodge level
  • Accessible entryways for getting ready to hit the slopes
  • Dedicated space for program check-in, accessible restrooms, programs, changing, volunteer break room, educational lending library, and more
  • Specially-designed soundproof sensory room for those who need a comfortable retreat away from noise and over-stimulation
  • Multi-purpose space for classroom activities, retreats, yoga workshops, wellness camps,  and other holistic activities
  • Space to work on equipment with a mechanical equipment closet included

All three levels will be connected by an access-for-all elevator. The main level will connect with the existing Mt. Ellen base lodge, providing complete access to the food court and main base lodge level. The upper level will connect to the Mt. Ellen third floor bar. The Lower Level will connect to the rental shop, lockers and ski patrol. Several accessible parking spots will be available at the main entrance to the facility as well as increased parking in the upper tier parking lot.

Courtesy of Vermont Adaptive
The new facility at Sugarbush opens this week furthering Vermont Adaptive’s mission. Red arrow points to new construction.

Naylor & Breen Builders, Inc. is the general contractor for the project, and the building was designed by Jeffrey Dunham Architecture. The new facility is specifically designed with the Vermont Adaptive participants, volunteers, staff, and community in mind in order to bring year-round accessible sports and recreation to the entire Mad River Valley area in central Vermont.

The facility at Mt. Ellen is the second of three phases of Vermont Adaptive’s Permanent Homes Campaign. The first building, the Andrea Mead Lawrence Lodge at Pico Mountain, was built in 2013. The Pico facility was the first of its kind in Vermont.

The third building will be located somewhere on the Burlington waterfront adjacent to the bike path; the specific site is still to be determined.

Vermont Adaptive arrived at Sugarbush Resort in 1991, when it expanded its programming locations to include Sugarbush in addition to its then-home base at Mt. Ascutney, where programs began in 1987. (The statewide headquarters is now at Pico Mountain.) The longstanding partnership between the organization and Sugarbush Resort has thrived for the past 30 years.

Approximately $250,000 still needs to be raised to complete the fundraising aspect of the $2.5 million project. All donations and pledges made before Dec. 31 will be recognized on the exterior donor wall recognition plaque. Leadership donations of $500, $1,000 or more also will be recognized with individual plaques in the donor lobby on the main level of the facility.

For more information visit: vermontadaptive.org/sugarbushfacility.

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