DEAR EDITOR:

The Telluride Adaptive Sports Program (TASP) would like to extend its gratitude and provide recognition towards Rob Johnson, Transit Operations Manager and Jim Loebe, Transit and Recreation Director for the Town of Mountain Village and the Mountain Village Owners Association.

Their combined efforts to address accessibility needs within the Town of Mountain Village are further improving accessibility for both residents and visitors.

TASP works closely with our participants to navigate accessibility in Mountain Village and Telluride. Two specific additions this season that generally go unnoticed by the general public are the addition of a specifically designed fully accessible van added to the Dial A Ride program and assistive disabled skier access via the gondola, most specifically from Station 1 in downtown Telluride to San Sophia Station.

The Dial-a-Ride service in Mountain Village is provided and funded by the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association (TMVAOA) for its members and guests. TMVOA contracts with Telluride Concierge, a division of Telluride Ski and Golf (TSG) for this service.  In the fall of 2018 and as a requirement of the agreement with TMVOA, TSG purchased a Dodge Caravan that is designed for wheelchair users and fitted with a ramp. The vehicle can accommodate two wheelchairs and one passenger or one wheelchair and 4 passengers.

Dial a Ride now has the ability to transport riders who may require the use of a wheelchair, and this vehicle allows them to roll right into the vehicle with ease.  Before this purchase, riders historically have had to transfer from their wheelchair into a vehicle that is typically too tall for them to get into and often amongst snowy or stormy weather proving dangerous at times. Now that riders can stay in their wheelchair, they can be transported more safely and comfortably.

Secondly and most recently, an adaptive skier call button has been installed at the base of the gondola in town where, for example, a sit-down skier can ski up to the button, push it, and a gondola operator will come out to assist with a specifically designed cart to get the individual, while still in their sit-ski, into a gondola cabin.

Loebe performed months of research, looking as far as Europe to determine a safe and effective application locally for our gondola. Historically sit-skiers have had to either load chair 7 which has a tricky load ramp and 8 which does not have a retaining bar, closes early in the afternoon and also has a tricky load for sit skiers. Loebe and his team custom built 6 sit-down ski carts that provide a much safer and inclusive gondola ski experience. Loebe is already getting inquiries from other resort communities who are looking to improve their gondola transportation accessibility.

Please join us in recognizing the town, TMVOA and Dial-A-Ride in this dedication to continuing work, collaboration, accessibility and inclusion to make our community more accessible for all.

Sincerely,

The TASP Team