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Disabled Sports USA to Host 24th Annual The Hartford Ski Spectacular

11-15-2011 - (Rockville, MD)

Disabled Sports USA (DSUSA) will host the 24th annual The Hartford Ski Spectacular Dec. 4-11 at Beaver Run Resort and Breckenridge Ski Resort, Breckenridge, Colo. The eight-day event, sponsored by The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE:HIG), founding partner of U.S. Paralympics, is the nation’s largest winter sports festival for individuals with physical disabilities. More than 700 participants ranging in ability from first-time skiers to members of the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing National Team will come together. Also attending will be more than 100 wounded warriors and their families. One of the youths participating will be Brad Humphrey, 17, of Indianapolis, who was injured in the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair on Aug. 13.

Programs offered at The Hartford Ski Spectacular help strengthen and expand adaptive ski programs in communities throughout the U.S.; identify and train youth, wounded warriors, and others with disabilities including those who strive to be winter Paralympians; and help local DSUSA chapters improve their services. A week of ski race training, sponsored by U.S. Paralympics, prepares athletes for the 2012 U.S. Disabled Alpine Ski Championships in Sugarbush, Vt., and Aspen, Colo.; the 2012 World Championships in La Molina, Spain; and the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

“For the 18th consecutive year, The Hartford is proud to sponsor this important program that’s been a birthplace of U.S. Paralympic champions,” says Ron Gendreau of The Hartford. “The Hartford Ski Spectacular is a perfect capstone for this year’s Achieve Without Limits campaign. We are inspired by The Hartford Ski Spectacular participants who demonstrate courage, strength and determination as they achieve success.”

New this year are sled hockey and wheelchair curling clinics, culminating in an exhibition game with a wheelchair curling demonstration. The ski instructor academy endorsed by Professional Ski Instructors of America-American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI) offers training for instructors in the latest and safest adaptive ski techniques for skiers with disabilities. “Learn to” programs in alpine and Nordic skiing, biathlon, sled hockey, curling and snowboarding are also offered.

“DSUSA and its chapters are a critical partner in meeting the need to provide daily physical activity for persons with physical disabilities in communities throughout the U.S.,” says Charlie Huebner, Chief of Paralympics, United States Olympic Committee (USOC). “The Hartford Ski Spectacular creates that drive for people with a physical disability to re-engage in life.”

“Once again, we are excited to partner with The Hartford and have the support of U.S. Paralympics, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and others to offer this premier event for people with disabilities from more than 30 states in the United States and five foreign countries,” says Kirk Bauer, JD, executive director of DSUSA. “The Hartford Ski Spectacular is an ideal event for individuals with disabilities to develop independence, confidence, and fitness.” Bauer, a disabled Vietnam veteran, previously scaled Mt. Kilimanjaro with two wounded warriors who received their first sports training at The Hartford Ski Spectacular.

The Hartford Ski Spectacular is also sponsored by U.S. Paralympics and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; The Bob Woodruff Foundation; Team Semper Fi; Tee It Up For the Troops; Air Compassion for Veterans; Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center; Breckenridge Ski Resort; PSIA-AASI; and Breckenridge Sports. DSUSA chapters supporting the event include:  host chapter Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center and chapters National Center for the Disabled, New England Disabled Sports, Adaptive Adventures, Maine Handicapped Skiing, Two Top Mountain Adaptive Sports Foundation, Outdoors For All, and Adaptive Action Sports and National Ability Center.

Follow the action at The Hartford Ski Spectacular on Twitter and Facebook. Look for @DisabledSportUS and #skispec on Twitter and Disabled Sports USA on Facebook, as well as @TheHartford on Twitter and Facebook.

About Disabled Sports USA

Founded in 1967, Disabled Sports USA is a charitable organization that provides opportunities for individuals with disabilities to develop independence, confidence, and fitness through participation in sports. What began as a program to serve Vietnam veterans has since grown into one of the nation’s largest multi-sport, multi-disability organizations, annually serving more than 60,000 wounded warriors, youth, and adults with disabilities. A member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, Disabled Sports USA offers programs in more than 30 summer and winter sports through its nationwide network of more than 100 community-based chapters. For more information, visit www.dsusa.org.

About The Hartford
The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE: HIG) is a leading provider of insurance and wealth management services for millions of consumers and businesses worldwide. The Hartford is consistently recognized for its superior service and as one of the world’s most ethical companies. More information on the company and its financial performance is available at www.thehartford.com. Join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheHartford. Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TheHartford.

About U.S. Paralympics

U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympics Committee, is dedicated to becoming the world leader in the Paralympic sports movement and promoting excellence in the lives of people with disabilities. Through education, sports programs, and partnerships with community organizations, medical facilities, and government agencies, U.S. Paralympics is making a difference in the lives of thousands of people with physical disabilities people every day. Visit www.usparalympics.org for more information.



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