Vermont Adaptive broke ground on its new sports facility at Mount Ellen today, May 20. Photo courtesy of Vermont Adaptive.

After being delayed for a year by the COVID-19 pandemic, Vermont Adaptive will break ground for its new adaptive sports facility at Mount Ellen today, May 20, at 9:30 a.m.

The new $2.5 million state-of-the art-building will open for early winter 2021. Erin Fernandez, executive director of Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports, announced construction will be underway this month at Sugarbush Resort’s Mt. Ellen for Vermont Adaptive’s second permanent home in Vermont. The new $2.5 million, 4,000-square-foot adaptive sports facility will connect to the resort’s current base lodge. Until now, Vermont Adaptive has operated out of 400 square feet of borrowed space in the lodge. 



Vermont Adaptive arrived at Sugarbush Resort in 1991 when it expanded its programming locations to include Sugarbush in addition to its then home base at Mt. Ascutney. (The statewide headquarters is now at Pico Mountain.) The longstanding partnership between the organization and Sugarbush Resort has thrived for the past 20 years.

A special ceremonial celebration and groundbreaking will be held Thursday, May 20, beginning at 9:30 a.m. to commemorate this next phase of this facility and the organization’s Home Sweet Home Permanent Homes Campaign. Naylor & Breen Builders, Inc. is the general contractor for the project and the building was designed by Jeffrey Dunham Architecture. The new facility is specifically designed with the Vermont Adaptive participants, volunteers, staff and community in mind in order to bring year-round accessible sports and recreation to the entire Mad River Valley area. 


The facility at Mt. Ellen is the second of three phases of Vermont Adaptive’s Permanent Homes Campaign. The first building, the Andrea Mead Lawrence Lodge at Pico Mountain, was built in 2013. The Pico facility was the first of its kind in Vermont. The third building will be located somewhere on the Burlington waterfront adjacent to the bike path; the specific site is still to be determined.

The new facility at Sugarbush will include three floors for adaptive sports programming, retreats, veterans’ programs, workshops and wellness seminars as well as the following:

* Access-for-all elevator for three floors at Mt. Ellen at Sugarbush. 

* Year-round storage for expensive state-of-the-art adaptive equipment. 

* Bag and gear storage space for staff, volunteers and guests. 


* Connecting pathways to existing and new spaces – connection to Sugarbush’s main base lodge level for food, the fireplace, seating and retail. 

* Accessible entryways and exits for getting ready for and hitting the slopes. 

* Dedicated space for program check-in, accessible restrooms, program space, personal storage and changing space, volunteer break room, educational lending library and more. 

* Specially-designed soundproof sensory room for those who need a comfortable retreat away from noise and overstimulation. 


* Multi-purpose space for classroom activities, retreats, yoga workshops, wellness camps and other holistic activities. 

* Space to work on equipment with a mechanical equipment closet included.

To learn more about the facility and to view designs and renderings, visit