The Mountain Times

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Vermont Adaptive unveils Phase I plans for a new $1.3 million building at Pico Mountain

KILLINGTON-Vermont Adaptive, in partnership with the Pico Ski Education Foundation, plans to break ground on a new state-of-the-art $1.3 million access-for-all building at Pico Mountain this summer. On Feb. 1, Erin Fernandez, executive director of Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports, publicly announced that the organization is officially underway with the first phase of its new, three-phase, three-location Permanent Homes Campaign at Pico Mountain.

Phase I of the campaign, which includes partnering with the Pico Ski Education Foundation, will provide a permanent home for Vermont Adaptive's state headquarters and the first year-round adaptive sports center in Vermont. Vermont Adaptive currently uses space provided by Pico Mountain for its programming and state headquarters.

The collaborative partnership between Vermont Adaptive and the Pico Ski Education Foundation brings opportunities for creating a dynamic, multi-use building. The name PEAK represents the values the two organizations share and plan to bring to life: performance, excellence, ability, and knowledge.

"We've joined forces with the Pico Ski Education Foundation to build this new building, a flagship, four-season headquarters for athletes, programs, participants, volunteers, and events for both organizations," said Fernandez. "By pooling financial resources and responsibility for the building, both non-profits will be able to bring their respective organizations into the future. We're very excited about the possibilities this new permanent building holds for our growing organization, which creates access for all. Most importantly, officials at Killington Resort and Pico Mountain are excited and supportive of our efforts. We couldn't do this without them."

Resort officials have offered the land necessary to complete the project. "We are thrilled to be partnering with both the Pico Ski Foundation and Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports in their efforts to build a new state-of-the-art facility," said Tracy Taylor of Killington and Pico Mountain. "We believe in the great work of both organizations and provide full support to realize their vision."

Fundraising began last spring to raise approximately $1.3 million for the state-of-the art building and sustainability fund. The organizations expect to raise $800,000 in cash, with the rest of the funding coming through in-kind donations.

Vermont Adaptive will own the first floor of the 6,000 sq. ft. facility. Located between the existing Pico Ski Club building and the Pico Base Lodge, the facility will connect to both buildings via outdoor balconies and decks on the second floor. The building is specifically designed for participants in Vermont Adaptive's programs, providing easy accessibility for all, regardless of one's disability. An elevator will connect the first and second floors.

Plans for the building were designed by NBF Architects of Rutland. First floor plans include more than 1,000 sq. ft. for programs, a Chill Zone (or quiet room) for those participants who need a reprieve from constant stimulation; a workshop and storage area to protect and maintain the valuable adaptive equipment that costs between $1,500 and $5,000 per piece; state headquarter offices for Vermont Adaptive administrative and program staff, maximized program space with room for wheelchairs, equipment, supplies, instructors, and even a place for guide dogs to rest.

The Pico Ski Education Foundation will own the second floor, using the space for offices, events, indoor physical training, conferences and functions.

At press time, Vermont Adaptive and the Pico Ski Education Foundation had received multiple donations from a variety of supporters including significant seed money from the Gibney Family Foundation and other businesses, individuals and families. Gifts and donations are being accepted in all sizes and will be recognized in the new building. Visit


Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports is the largest year-round disabled sports non-profit organization in Vermont offering the most diverse program opportunities and unique, specialized equipment. Vermont Adaptive promotes independence and furthers equality through access and instruction to sports and recreational opportunities including alpine skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports; kayaking, canoeing, sailing, cycling, hiking, rock climbing, tennis, horseback riding, and more.

The Pico Ski Education Foundation is dedicated to giving young athletes opportunities to pursue their dreams by enabling them to learn sound technical skills, good sportsmanship, healthy competitiveness and an appreciation for the spirit of skiing and for the mountains themselves.

Tagged: Pico Ski Education Foundation, Vermont Adaptive, Pico