CADS ~ Canadian Adaptive Snowsports provides opportunities for people living with disabilities to experience the freedom of skiing and snowboarding across Canada. CADS does this through partnerships, training, and instructor certification programmes that meet the requirements and needs of people whose lives are affected by visual impairments, autism spectrum disorder & cognitive impairments, and physical impairments. Our organisation supports and encourages over 2100 participants living with disabilities to be active for life and to work towards long term development.
We also support over 1600 certified instructors and over 1500 volunteers to fully participate and to develop their skills to achieve their greatest impact. CADS is comprised of the national organisation with 10 provincial divisions and sixty-four local clubs across Canada. These divisions and clubs deliver programmes directly to participants with the help of volunteers and certified instructors.
The demographics of CADS participants are:
– 57% are less than 25 years old
– 6% have a visual impairment
– 28% are skiers with a physical impairment
– 80% of the skiing and snowboarding participants are at the fundamental learn to train & active for life stages, 5% are at the training to train stage and 5% at the training to compete stage.
– 66% have a cognitive impairment including autism
– 90% are skiers
– 10% are snowboarders (and growing)
Is to give people living with disabilities the opportunity to eliminate barriers that have prevented them in experiencing the joy and freedom of snowsports. Not only in a fun and inclusive environment that embraces diversity, but in an accessible community that treats each individual with respect.
To achieve this goal, our priorities are to increase the number of instructors – with recruitment, education & certification programmes across Canada.
Deliver quality programmes – to individuals and organizations on snow and to continue to develop our adaptive curriculum. The CADS Instructor Certification Programme continues to set the standard for safe, effective technical instruction, and provide ways for more people with disabilities to safely experience adaptive snow sports to the best of their abilities. On average the CADS course conductors give 604 certifications each year.
We need to continue to build organisational capacity – from our local to national organisations and maintain organisational sustainability – through our national fund development.
Among the variety of club specific programmes, CADS National offers 2 large events for our membership. At the start of each season, CADS National hosts an eastern and western pre-course for the 100 course conductors to improve and refresh their teaching skills. During this event, their key focus is one EDUCATION to deliver world leading training and education to instructors & volunteers. AMBASSADORSHIP to represent CADS and promote the organisation and adaptive snowsports in a positive and responsible manner. STANDARDISATION to maintain evaluation standards within the CADS certification pathway. And on MENTORSHIP to provide opportunities, support and guidance for adaptive volunteers and instructors.
CADS National also hosts a weeklong adaptive ski and snowboard festival at different resorts across Canada each year. During this annual event, participants and their family, friends and caregivers have access to more than just snowsports because the festival includes daily social and family friendly off snow activities, so all experience the fun on and off the slopes. The event traditionally culminates with an awards banquet and silent auction celebrating the past season and recognising the nationals award winners (Most improved skier, snowboarder, volunteer of the year, coach of the year, etc.) Due to COVID, we have had to postpone the past 2 festivals due to restrictions.
The layout of the festival will change in the future, but we are building it back so that participants like Riley Scott can continue to experience the freedom and inclusion that adaptive snowsports provides. His mom wrote last year: “I wish to send a note of great thanks to all the team at CADS National because without all the help and open doors this has provided for my son Riley he would not be the same person he is today as CADS has provided Riley with the chance to thrive in an environment that otherwise he would not have been much a part of. I know what commitment is all about, and how much CADS has done for so many young kids like Riley providing them with the chance to express themselves in an environment with like persons. Yours sincerely, Barry and Riley Scott❤️❤️”