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ASPNC expands winter programming



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ASPNC volunteers enjoyed winter hiking with a participant last year. A recent grant has allowed the non-profit to expand opportunities this year. (Courtesy Photo) (click for larger version)
December 02, 2020
FRANCONIA — The Adaptive Sports Partners of the North Country plan to expand its existing snowshoe and winter hiking program this winter thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Tillotson Fund and NH Charitable Foundation.

"We really appreciate the support from the Tillotson Fund and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. This investment has allowed ASPNC to add 20 pairs of snowshoes and micro-spikes to our program, and most importantly, allowed us to expand the number of days we can offer this program," said ASPNC Executive Director Thomas Shovlin.

ASPNC Program Manager Nate Hanson said, "This activity will allow our participants and volunteers to get outside in the woods and stay active during the winter season in a safe, socially-distanced way."

French snowshoe manufacturer TSL Outdoors provided the snowshoes while the micro-spikes came from REI North Conway. The grant also covered the purchase of a new "TrialRider," a single-wheeled mobility transport supporter that allows people with significant mobility challenges to access hiking trails year-round.

Much of ASPNC's high-tech equipment has begun to wear down and the organization is looking at high replacement costs over the next few years, said Shovlin.

He said, "Because we got this grant, we wanted to be responsible and see if we could get some additional partners behind our snowshoe program and make that money go as far as possible."

Shovlin continued, "It's going to be a big lift to try to replace all of the equipment over the next couple of years, so we decided to focus on that goal. We've made a lot of progress with all the grant opportunities and stimulus money that's available this year."

Although Shovlin anticipated a participation decrease in the ASPNC alpine skiing program at Cannon Mountain this year, he said winter hikes and snowshoe excursions would occur three to four times a week. The alpine skiing program will run seven days a week with only four participants on the mountain at a time.

The Nordic Skiing program will also continue this winter with opportunities at the Franconia Inn and Ski Hearth Farm. Participants must wear triple-layered face coverings for all programs and the non-profit developed a stringent disinfectant strategy for the winter season.

Shovlin said, "We plan to have gear rotation and make sure we're being as cautious as possible."

The winter hiking and snowshoe programs require advanced registration, which can be completed online at adaptivesportspartners.org. Anyone interested in becoming an ASPNC volunteer or program participant is encouraged to contact the organization directly by calling 823-5232 or sending an email to info@adaptivesportspartners.org.

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