A Partnership for a Good Cause

Whitefish Mountain Resort and Special Olympics Montana celebrate 14 years together

By: By Kenneth Shapiro

Special Olympics Montana, a 38-year-old movement that enables children and adults with intellectual disabilities to train for life through sports, will conduct its State Winter Games Feb. 22-24 at Whitefish Mountain Resort. This winter marks the 14th consecutive year that the State Winter Games have been held at Whitefish Mountain Resort.

Three hundred fifteen athletes, 35 unified partners and 150 coaches/chaperones from over 25 teams are expected to gather at Whitefish Mountain Resort to compete in four different sports over a three-day period. Competitions will include Alpine Skiing, Cross Country Skiing, Snowshoeing and Beginner Alpine Snowboarding. Advanced Slalom and Advanced Giant Slalom will also be introduced on Chair 2 for the 2009 games. In addition, a one-day Floor Hockey Team Competition will take place at The Wave in Whitefish.

In addition to competition, special events such as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Athlete Victory Banquet, Dance/Carnival and a Families Luncheon aim to create memorable experiences for athletes, coaches and volunteers by celebrating life through sports.

In the past, the Opening Ceremony and Parade of Athletes have been held in the upper village at the resort. This year, the parade will be held at Depot Park in downtown Whitefish at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 22.

“This is a big change, and we want to make sure everyone in the community is aware of it so they can come out and support the athletes,” said Dave Snuggs, vice president of sports and competition for the games. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

As an athlete-centered, family-based and volunteer-driven organization, Special Olympics Montana relies almost exclusively on the support of community volunteers, businesses and service organizations for leadership, planning and preparation, in-kind and financial gifts.

To learn more about Special Olympics Montana call 800-242-6876.