Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports (VASS) is slated to open at Sugarbush’s Mt. Ellen in December.

A new $2.5 million, 4,000-square-foot adaptive sports facility for Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports (VASS) is slated to open at Sugarbush’s Mt. Ellen in December. The new building, built by Naylor and Breen Builders, Brandon, will be attached to the base lodge at Mt. Ellen. The facility will include three floors for adaptive sports programming, elevator access, a space to work on and store adaptive equipment, a check-in area and space to prepare for the slopes, accessible rest rooms and entryways/exits, a soundproof sensory room, a space for service animals to rest while their human counterparts are on the slopes and a multipurpose space for classes and activities. Previously, VASS was housed at Sugarbush in a 400-square-foot space in the base lodge. The new space will increase their capacity and quality of service.



“When you have 100 athletes, volunteer instructors, staff, parents and caregivers in 400-square-feet of space on a busy Sunday afternoon, it can be quite hectic!” Kim Jackson, VASS director of communications, said. “This new space will provide ample room to move and breathe, prepare for lessons in a calm and non-rushed way and provide alternative spaces for those who need to be away from the hustle and bustle of a busy programming day. The first goal is to improve the experience for our athletes and participants. Having a space that is designed with their needs in mind is the first priority. Things like paint color and the type of lighting used are important for people with sensory needs. A quiet room will allow those who are overwhelmed in crowded spaces to find reprieve. Private space for volunteer instructors to prepare for their lessons as well as recap them keeps client information confidential. The facility is thoughtfully designed to accommodate the needs of our entire community.”

VASS is a statewide, year-round program serving athletes with disabilities at Pico, Killington, Bolton Valley and Suicide Six resorts, as well as Sugarbush. The new facility will operate year-round, with mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking and other activities in the summer, in addition to skiing and snowboarding in the winter. The new facility will house summer camps, wellness programs and retreats, social events, training seminars and classwork throughout the year.


VASS still has $350,000 to raise for the new facility. Donations may be made at

“We serve thousands of participants each year -- both Vermonters and those visiting from out of state. Having a second state-of-the-art adaptive sports facility in the state will have a huge impact on the community as well as those who want to travel to Vermont to find accessible outdoor recreation. It’s a game changer for sure. Our third facility like this will be on the Burlington waterfront and bike path hopefully within the next few years. We are on the move and growing! We want to be able to serve anyone and everybody who wants to get outside and play!” Jackson said.