Life of a Winter Intern
Winter interns make a six-month commitment, from early November to late April, working primarily for the Adaptive Ski Program based at Peak 9 at the Breckenridge Ski Resort. After an intense month-long training the interns become an integral part of the ski office, first as assistant instructors, and quickly advancing to primary instructors for people with various disabilities and special needs. This job, although incredibly rewarding and educational, is physically and mentally demanding. Interns may spend their day helping students with physical challenges get on and off the lift, as well as introducing them to adaptive skiing or helping them improve their current skills. After a long day at work, interns may return home to daily chores of wood chopping or snow shoveling, which are some of the many duties needed to maintain the BOEC wilderness site where they live. Another responsibility that may keep interns from returning home right after the full work day is driving groups of participants to and from our ski office to ensure their ability to participate in our unique program.
During the winter, interns also facilitate wilderness courses with various groups ranging from the siblings of people with cancer, to groups with brain injuries or epilepsy. These courses require interns to be involved in preplanning, such as course design and food shopping, as well as group facilitation, team building exercises and participation on the BOEC ropes course or high and low elements. When on course, interns and other staff remain with participants twenty-four hours per day, as most winter courses take place at our wilderness site.
Although the winter internship requires a long commitment and hard work outdoors during the cold months in Breckenridge, many former interns have used this experience to further their careers in experiential/outdoor education and adaptive skiing. Opportunities exist for interns to become certified through the Professional Ski Instructors of America in adaptive teaching.
Application Deadline for the Winter is September 1st
Words of Wisdom from former winter interns:
“At first I felt uncomfortable with the silence; I wanted to fill the space between [my student and me] instead of just waiting patiently and listening. By the end of the day I grew to love it. I realized just how much power there is in just being with a person. I appreciated that I felt uncomfortable at least once a day here & there is much growth in discomfort and dissonance.”
-Abby, winter intern
“The BOEC has provided me with the opportunity to work with such a wide range of populations. I have come to really appreciate skiing as a sport that can be adapted to accommodate anyone. I feel so lucky to work for an organization that never has to turn anyone away due to ability. I have seen modest achievements make parents cry, and I have seen students push for Imperial. The students are the best part of the experience. ”
-Adrienne, winter intern
“One of the strongest memories that I’ll take with me this season is talking frankly with the parents of a 15 year old girl with a seizure disorder. They shared their thoughts and feelings on their daughter’s condition and how they felt to see her near death so many times. They also shared how great it was to see her ski and perform activities around the Scott Griffith Lodge without the supervision from a close family member. They said this was the first time they ever felt comfortable trusting her to be ‘out of their sight.”
-Dave Sutherland, winter intern
“A great memory was when I was riding up the Quicksilver lift with a BOEC client and I looked down onto Beaver run and saw about 75 wheelchairs. It was incredible to know that all of those people were skiing and I knew most of them. I had a great feeling of respect and awe for life.”
-Katie O’Neil, winter intern
“Being a BOEC intern exposed me to a completely new way of thinking about skiing, sports in general through adapting and creating to make things more accessible.”
-Chad Gorby, winter intern
“This internship touched me deeper than I would have ever thought. The biggest testimony for what I believe the internship did for me is that I’m staying.”
-Christopher Rogers, winter intern