For the majority of his day, Rich Nici is confined to a wheelchair. But when he touches the snow at Sunday River Ski Resort in Maine, Nici can travel at speeds most people would only dream of.
Nici, who had never skied before when a car accident paralyzed him from the waist down, is now a member of the Maine Adaptive Alpine Race Team, a ski team made up of people with disabilities that competes in events around New England.
“Being in a wheelchair, my top speed is probably like five miles an hour, maybe 10,” Nici said. “And then my ability to go certain places is limited, as well, because of that. So skiing sort of opens the doors on all of that.”
The organizers of the program — which is offered free of charge and constantly accepting new members — say that the greatest lessons taught on the mountain are not about skiing, but rather about enjoying the freedom of life.
Hear more from Maine Adaptive’s participants and volunteers in the video above, and visit the team’s website for more information on the program.