U.S. Paralympics Nor... Features CAF and U.S. Paralym...

CAF and U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing Partner to Bring Winter Sport Development to the Next Level

By Challenged Athletes Foundation | Nov. 13, 2020, 5:18 p.m. (ET)

Wilson Dippo has will strengthen the Paralympic pathway as the newest development coach.

Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) and U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing (USPN) today announced a partnership to develop adaptive athletes from their first-time experience to the top levels of Nordic skiing and biathlon. In his new position as development coach, Wilson Dippo will lead the development of athletes and CAF’s winter sports programs to strengthen the Paralympic pathway and adaptive community. With a shared resource, CAF athletes will now not only have a skilled professional to introduce them to the sport, but a mentor to guide them to elite level training and competition. CAF is a proven leader in adaptive sports and provides support and opportunities for first-time athletes to Paralympians.

“We are excited about this coaching collaboration as a way to reimagine developing athletes in Para Nordic skiing,” said Eileen Carey, director of U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing (USPN).  “Wilson will be providing access to high-quality coaching to athletes where they live.  We hope this model will be a blueprint for developing athletes in other regions throughout the country.”

Dippo brings a wealth of knowledge in Nordic and biathlon training and coaching, and joins the CAF team to further develop the adaptive Nordic community with a heavy focus in the state of Idaho. No stranger to the slopes, Dippo raced for Bowdoin College in Maine before heading to Idaho where he co-founded the first Paralympic sports club in the state with Paralympian and CAF ambassador, “One-armed Willie” Stewart. As head coach for the Bogus Basin Nordic team, Dippo saw an opportunity to bridge the gap between adaptive-specific and existing sports programs in the community. With a combined background of competing and coaching, Dippo’s intentional approach will engage athletes of all ages and empower individuals with disabilities with new sport opportunities in Nordic and alpine skiing, biathlon, hockey and curling.

“CAF has always been an integral partner to athlete development, and this is the first shared role that creates a continuum from entry into sport up to elite competition.” said Jenn Skeesick, regional director, CAF-Idaho. “This will be the first season that CAF has a specialist focusing on winter programming, racing and athlete development”.

Today, there are more than 21 million Americans with a physical disability, many of whom are eligible to compete in Paralympic sport. However, high costs of adaptive sports equipment and lack of resources can be barriers to entry for individuals with physical challenges to remain active. CAF is focused and committed to supporting athletes with physical challenges with equipment and a supportive community to enhance their lives through sport.

This winter, CAF-Idaho will host camps and clinics to develop skills and build the community of adaptive athletes and supporters who believe that life is a team sport. To learn more about CAF and future winter programs, visit www.challengedathletes.org/idaho and join the CAF-Idaho Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/CAFIdaho/.

CAF-Idaho and this winter sport program growth has been made possible by the generosity of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation.

About the Challenged Athletes Foundation

The Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) is a world leader in helping people with physical challenges lead active, healthy lifestyles. CAF believes that participation in physical activity at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life.  Since 1994, more than $123 million has been raised and over 30,000 funding requests from people with physical challenges in all 50 states and dozens of countries have been satisfied. Additionally, CAF’s outreach efforts impact another 60,000 individuals each year. Whether it’s a $2,500 grant for a hand-cycle, helping underwrite a carbon fiber running foot not covered by insurance, or arranging enthusiastic encouragement from a mentor who has triumphed over a similar challenge, CAF’s mission is clear: give opportunities and support to those with the desire to live active, athletic lifestyles. To learn more, visit challengedathletes.org or call 858-866-0959.