Great Outdoors: Monoskiing Madness at Spirit Mountain

DULUTH, Minn. – Monoskiing Madness, is a special three day event that gave people with disabilities a chance to learn to ski and hone their skills.

The 16th annual event was put on by the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute and included everyone from beginning monoskiers learning the sport to skiers learning racing tips from Paralympic gold medalists.

“It helps me be able to ski with my family, everybody in my family pretty much skis, it allows me if I want to ski with my friends and get to travel in different places,” said 14-year-old Blake Eaton who has been monoskiing for six years.

A monoski is one ski underneath a seated athlete who has handheld outriggers that balance them and allows them to initiate turns.

Program coordinator Mark Hanna says it’s about so much more than just learning a new sport.

“It really is life changing for a lot of people to have the confidence to be able to come to any facility, be fully engaged in a sport other people are doing,” said Hanna of  Courage Kenny Northland.

Monoskier Blake Eaton enjoys how inclusive monoskiing is.

“It means a lot and it means I can learn what sports or activities I can do, also meet people like Eric and Mark, all the different volunteers,” said Eaton.

Courage Kenny’s programs offer many winter and summer activities to let everyone get out and enjoy the great outdoors.

“Everyone needs to be part of an active lifestyle people of all abilities and we are just here to make sure that happens for all those who are interested in being out here and enjoying everything the Northland has,” said Hanna.

From skiing, scuba diving, to golf Courage Kenny offers a wide range of programs to allow athletes of all skills the ability to participate and compete with their friends.