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Diners & restaurant staff at Gunstock support adaptive ski program

GILFORD — Gunstock Mountain Resort has had an adaptive sports program for a decade, yet it's not a well-known part of the mountain community. Mary MacDonald first learned of the program about five years ago, when she was riding a chairlift and observed a ski instructor she knew, Charlie Bedirian, using a couple of tethers to help a girl make her way down the slope.
Even from the chairlift, MacDonald could hear the laughter and shrieks of joy coming from the girl. The young skier was blind, MacDonald later learned, and thanks to the adaptive snow sports program, Bedirian was helping her to experience downhill skiing for her first time.
"My hear just swelled at the thought of it," said MacDonald. "I was completely overwhelmed. It's just an amazing thing to see." MacDonald is the operations manager for Centerplate, the company that operates the Powder Keg restaurant and Pistol Pub at Gunstock. So, when she heard that the adaptive sports program was breaking out from Gunstock's umbrella and re-organizing itself as the non-profit Lakes Region Disabled Sports, she brought the idea of helping fund raise to her staff. Not only did they accept the idea, MacDonald said, the food service employees at Gunstock took ownership of concept, coming up with new and better ways of collecting funds for the program.
MacDonald's initial goal of $2,000 was quickly passed. Just as quick was $3,000, then $4,000. Over the course of the winter, her staff and patrons chipped in $5,800, which was recently presented to the organization.
Paige Davis, program manager for Lakes Region Disabled Sports, said the money "helps us tremendously," and will likely be used to help upgrade equipment, especially those used to assist her students who use a wheelchair when they're not skiing. What's even more significant to the program is the food service staff's intention to form a long-term fundraising relationship with Lakes Region Disabled Sports, a partnership which will help raise the organization's profile in the community as well as directly fund its operation. 
Centerplate raised the funds by inviting diners to contribute $2 to the program. Many chose to go well beyond that figure, giving as much as $100 in several instances. Similarly generous were the winners of all four of the 50-50 raffles held at the Powder Keg on Saturday nights in February, a month the resort dedicated to "Adaptive Awareness": each of the four raffle winners elected to donate the winnings back to the program.
Davis, and the roughly 45 volunteer instructors that participate in the program, teach students with a wide range of disabilities how to ski. Some have learning disabilities, others have physical challenges. All of them, though, are treated to a two-hour lesson on Gunstock's slopes. For many, the lesson is a gateway into a new sport, and they'll move on to racing through the Special Olympics. The program has been steadily growing since it was started ten years ago, this year adaptive instructors have taught 300 lessons.
Even if they'll never medal, Davis said the program provides a thrill for her students. Often, the student is a member of a skiing family, and might otherwise be left in the lodge while the rest of the family hits the slopes. Thanks to the adaptive program, every member of the family gets to share in the experience.
The cost for students to participate in the program is $66, an inclusive price which includes two hours of instruction, lift ticket and equipment rental. It's a bargain, to be sure, but Davis would like to partner with a corporate sponsor to allow free adaptive lessons to disabled military veterans. "I really want to open up our lessons to that group of people. It really needs to be provided to the veterans at no cost," said Davis. "In all honesty, I think they're entitled to that because of their service."
Now a president of the board of directors for Lakes Region Disabled Sports, Chuck Hildreth said adaptive skiing changed his life. An avid skier in his younger days, he lost both arms in an accident and was intimidated by skiing afterward. However, due in part to the cajoling of his ski buddies, he participated in a disabled racing event in 1986. His success eventually led to being part of the U.S. Disabled Ski Team, which required Hildreth to go back to school.
Hildreth is now a husband and father of two, business owner and one of the Powder Keg's more popular patrons. He said he wouldn't be where he is now if not for his wife, and adaptive skiing.
"One of the most important things it does is teach goal-setting," Hildreth said. After his accident, he said he "was scared to death" to point his skis down hill. Yet, he learned how much he could accomplish, even without arms.
"It literally turned my life around," Hildreth said. "The disabled ski program turns people lives around."

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 March 2013 12:00

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Gilford 5th & 6th grade girls all-stars collecting championships

Members of the Gilford 5th & 6th Grade Girls All-Stars celebrate their second consecutive championship, winning the 2013 Francoeur/Babcock Tournament on their home court. Pictured in the front row are coach Bill Butterfield, Randi Byars, Shelby Cole, Kolbi Plante and Avy Bartlett. In the back row are coach Travis Cole, Hannah Perkins, Laurel Normandin, Brianna Salanitro, Colby Butterfield, Erin Hart, Zoe Nash-Boucher, Abby O'Connor and coach Lisa Byars. The girls were 10-1 during the 2013 tournament season, also winning the 2013 LAYBL Tournament in Laconia. (Courtesy photo)

Last Updated on Monday, 18 March 2013 11:57

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20th Annual Francoeur/Babcock Basketball Tournament wraps up

GILFORD — The 20th Annual Francoeur/Babcock Memorial Basketball Tournament wrapped up on Sunday. The Junior Co-Ed division was won by the Lou Athanas (Laconia) team, while teams from Gilford won both the Senior Boys and Senior Girls divisions.

Saturday, March 9
(Junior Division Losers Bracket)
Sanbornton defeated Gilmanton (26-12)
Leading Scorers for Sanbornton: Nolen Perrino – 10 pts and Philip Nichols – 8 pts
Leading Scorers for Gilmanton: Brett Clairmont – 6 pts and Danny Cameron – 4 pts

(Junior Division Winners Bracket)
Gilford defeated Lou Athanas (28-26)
Leading Scorers for Gilford: Alex Cheek – 12 pts and Jonathan Mitchell – 9 pts
Leading Scorers for Lou Athanas: Logan Dee – 8 pts, Gavin Pitt – 6 pts and Logan Paranto – 6 pts

(Senior Girls Division Losers Bracket)
Lou Athanas defeated Belmont (13-5)
Leading Scorers for Lou Athanas: Sydney Stevens – 4 pts and 4 other players with 2 pts each
Leading Scorers for Belmont: Elise Hall – 3 pts and Skylar Ruelke – 2 pts

(Senior Girls Division Winners Bracket)
Gilford defeated Tapply Thompson Community Center (25-24)
Leading Scorers for Gilford: Hannah Perkins – 11 pts and Erin Hart – 4 pts
Leading Scorers for TTCC: Megan Stafford – 9 pts and Madison Willingham – 7 pts

(Senior Boys Division Losers Bracket)
Gilford defeated Sanbornton (44-15)
Leading Scorers for Gilford: Gregory Madore – 13 pts and Patrick Carr – 8 pts
Leading Scorers for Sanbornton: Kyle Hinds – 4 pts, Alec Snow – 4 pts and Michael Allard – 4 pts

(Senior Boys Division Winners Bracket)
Belmont defeated Lou Athanas (29-18)
Leading Scorers for Belmont: Michael Sprague – 9 pts, Griffin Embree – 6 pts and Caleb Burke – 6 pts
Leading Scorers for Lou Athanas: Bryce McCrea – 6 pts and Caleb Petell- 4 pts

(Junior Division Losers Bracket)
Lou Athanas defeated Sanbornton (38-27)
Leading Scorers for Lou Athanas: Logan Dee – 10 pts, Gavin Pitt – 9 pts and Logan Paranto – 8 pts
Leading Scorers for Sanbornton: Philip Nichols – 18 pts and Nolen Perrino – 9 pts

(Senior Girls Division Losers Bracket)
Tapply Thompson Community Center defeated Lou Athanas (25-18)
Leading Scorers for TTCC: Madison Dalphonse – 8 pts and Megan Stafford – 8 pts
Leading Scorers for Lou Athanas: Abigail Shute, Morgan Romprey, Sydney Stevens and Caitlin Beattie each with 4 pts

(Senior Boys Division Losers Bracket)
Gilford defeated Lou Athanas (41-19)
Leading Scorers for Gilford: Patrick Carr – 13 pts, Gregory Madore – 10 pts and Korey Weston – 9 pts
Leading Scorers for Lou Athanas: Bryce McCrea – 12 pts, Logan Dee 5 pts and Jacob Minor – 5 pts

Sunday, March 10
(Junior Division Final)
Lou Athanas defeated Gilford (30-18) forcing an extra game
Leading Scorers for Lou Athanas: Logan Dee – 6 pts, Dylan Dickey – 6 pts and 2 other players with 5 pts each
Leading Scorers for Gilford: Andrew Flanders – 5pts, Alex Cheek – 4pts and Jonathan Mitchell – 4 pts

(Senior Girls Division Final)
Gilford defeated Tapply Thompson Community Center (22-17)
Leading Scorers for Gilford: Shelby Cole – 7 pts, Laurel Normandin – 7 pts and Hannah Perkins – 5 pts
Leading Scorers for TTCC: Madison Dalphonse – 6 pts, Megan Stafford – 4 pts and Hayleigh Pabst – 4 pts

(Senior Boys Division Final)
Gilford defeated Belmont (30-28) forcing an extra game
Leading Scorers for Gilford: Nic Hawthorne – 8 pts, Patrick Car – 7 pts and Gregory Madore – 6 pts
Leading Scorers for Belmont: Griffin Embree – 10 pts, Derek Stevens – 6 pts and Aidan Rupp – 5 pts

(Junior Division Final)
Lou Athanas defeated Gilford (40-35)
Leading Scorers for Lou Athanas: Gavin Pitt – 15 pts, Logan Dee – 13 pts and Isabella Daly -6 pts
Leading Scorers for Gilford: Alex Cheek – 14 pts, Ken Valentine – 10 pts and Jonathan Mitchell – 6 pts

(Senior Boys Division Final)
Gilford defeated Belmont (38-29)
Leading Scorers for Gilford: Nic Hawthorne – 13 pts, Patrick Carr – 12 pts and Korey Weston – 7 pts
Leading Scorers for Belmont: Derek Stevens – 14 pts, Griffin Embree – 9 pts and Caleb Burke – 4 pts

Last Updated on Monday, 11 March 2013 22:25

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Lakers Peewee 1 hockey team wins state championship

Sunday proved historic for the Lakes Region Youth Hockey Association as its Peewee 1 team carried off the Division III Championship title in the New Hampshire Amateur Hockey Association Playoffs, besting Hanover 8-2. The win capped a remarkable playoff weekend for the Lakers as they were the only team in the tournament to go undefeated. The Peewee 1 players hail from ten Lakes Region communities including Gilford, Laconia, Canterbury, Belmont, Northfield, Meredith, Sandwich, Alton, Sanbornton, and Center Harbor.
The Peewee 1 team entered the tournament seeded second behind regular season champion Oyster River and drew the NH Junior Monarchs as their initial opponent. The Lakers started off slowly but beat the Monarchs 4-1. Saturday afternoon's contest pitted the Lakers against the Hanover Wild, a lower-seeded team that had already played a game in the morning. The Lakers took full advantage of a fatigued adversary and came out firing, eventually beating Hanover 8-2. The win advanced the Belknap County locals into a semi-final contest against the Rochester Black Hawks.
The rivalry between the Black Hawks and the Lakers is lengthy and spirited. The Lakers immediately dominated in the game, scoring three goals in the opening period, eventually pulling away to win by the  score of 8-3.
The Lakers opened the final against Hanover by displaying great energy and  developed favorable scoring chances, but they could not put the puck past the Wild goaltender. Their luck changed when they scored two quick goals with less than 38 seconds left in the first period. In the second and third periods the Lakers hit their stride, pulling away to a commanding 8-2 victory over a proud and classy Hanover team.
By winning the NHAHA Division III Championship the Lakers Peewee 1 team qualified for USA Hockey Sectional Play in Shelton CT and will be New Hampshire's representative in that tournament beginning March 15, 2013. The Tournament pits the best Division III teams from New England and New York against one another. USA Hockey is the governing body for amateur hockey in the US. This is the second time in three seasons the Lakers have qualified a team for sectional play.
The Lakers Peewee 1 team is sponsored by China Garden Restaurant and New Hampshire Ball Bearing Inc. The Lakers organization wishes to thank each sponsor for its support, and also wishes to extend thanks to all of its other generous sponsoring partners.

Last Updated on Friday, 08 March 2013 01:59

Hits: 596

 
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