Skiing for more than fun

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Most days Bill Serio can be found operating Sideline Truck and Auto Repair, his Craig automotive repair business on School Street.

When time allows though, Serio enjoys the Steamboat ski area slopes, where he helps clients of Horizons Specialized Services make their way down the hill who experience the joy of skiing in spite of their disabilities.

"It's a lot of fun," Serio said. "I'm going to do it again this year."

Serio is one of 92 people who volunteered last year working with 38 Horizons clients in the Horizons Winter Sports program that includes alpine skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing.

Three days of training during the third week in January for the Saturday sessions allows volunteers to obtain complimentary lift tickets while assisting clients, while also earning additional lift tickets donated by the Ski and Snowboard School.

Liz Leipold, an adaptive ski instructor for the Professional Ski Instructors of America, has been directing the program since its inception 31 years ago.

Certified instructors train volunteers in various sit-down and stand-up techniques for assisting skiers and snowboarders with special needs.

From January until March, volunteers and instructors are paired with Horizons clients according to skill levels, as well as equipment and social needs.

The program is made possible by cooperation with Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation and Steamboat Ski and Snowboard School, and long lasting relationships have developed between volunteers and clients.

"I work with the same people a lot," Serio said. "It depends on the client, how many volunteers ski with them. We trade off either steering or following behind."

He said his work last year with a client confined to a wheelchair was very rewarding.

Volunteers are needed for this ski season, and those interested can contact Horizons Volunteer Coordinator Bette Carlson at 879-4466, ext. 111.

Dan Olsen can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 207, or dolsen@craigdailypress.com.

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