TAHOE CITY, Calif. (KOLO) -- Every year they help disabled skiers achieve what they never thought possible, but going into this season, Tahoe’s Disabled Sports USA Far West decided they no longer wanted to be defined by what their clients can’t do. The program has adopted a new name… which equals a new focus.
“We thought it was time to update our name to be a little bit more empowering, and speak to what we really do in our lessons and adaptive programs," said Haakon Lang-Ree, Executive Director of the adaptive ski program.
Moving forward the program will be known as Achieve Tahoe. The name playing off of what someone can do and not what is holding them back.
"Calling the program disabled sports or adaptive skiing has always been effective in explaining what we do, but it really does not explain where we want to take people," said Dave Littman, a long-time volunteer for the program.
The name Achieve Tahoe, on the other hand, does explain where they want to take people. Just take a run with one of the adaptive skiers and you'll see not only are they achieving, they're excelling.
"I think it is a more broad (name) for everybody. We are always constantly trying to achieve something," said Junghea Kim, a mono-skier with Achieve Tahoe.
Kim is the perfect example of an Achieve Tahoe success story. She heard about the program 15 years ago and has been tearing up the mountain ever since.
"It was a little bit crazy idea at the time, but that is how it all began and here I have 15 years later and I can ski the whole mountain now,” said Kim.
Whether it's a physical disability, mental disability or a wounded warrior, it doesn't matter. Achieve Tahoe focuses on the ability and makes a difference in people’s lives.
"Our major goal is independence. We want them to be able to see that they can do it on their own, that they are able to make their turns in dependently," said Michael Hunter, Program Director at Achieve Tahoe.
The thought is goals achieved on the hill will translate to goals achieved elsewhere in life.