In 1995, CTAM of the Rocky Mountains (a regional chapter of CTAM, the cable industry’s association of marketing executives) wanted to create an event that could raise money for a worthy cause and become a signature event for the chapter. The chapter’s board members learned that the US National Paralympic Ski Team had lost its funding and was in danger of disbanding. The chapter leadership quickly concluded that the team’s survival was the perfect cause for a Rocky Mountain–based organization to embrace, and an event designed to fund the team had the potential to draw executives from across the country.
CTAM’s board of directors agreed to lend the chapter seed money to launch the event and four months later the first SkiTAM was held in Vail in 1996. SkiTAM ’96 attracted 110 attendees and raised $100,000 for the team — an amount that, at the time, seemed remarkable. That dollar figure, along with the support of the cable industry, caught the attention of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and helped secure the Paralympic Team’s standing and its future as a team. It also triggered a chain reaction of events that led to SkiTAM ultimately emerging as the team’s financial lifeblood.
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee, announced the transition to manage elite Paralympic alpine and cross-country skiing. Effective December 20, 2010, the USOC assumed governance and management responsibility for the high-performance and development services of adaptive skiing.
Also within the past two years the SkiTAM name was changed to Adaptive Spirit. The organization will operate under the umbrella name, Adaptive Spirit. And the annual Ski Event will still be held in Vail. The cable industry’s financial support and sponsorship will continue to fund the development and training of those remarkable athletes, but now Adaptive Spirit’s specific messaging, influence and strategic partnerships will be expanded to include the broader adaptive community.