Adaptive Center Opens in Bottineau - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Adaptive Center Opens in Bottineau

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Chair-lifts were packed and tube runs were full, as hundreds of families enjoyed a day at the Bottineau Winter Park.

But Saturday was no ordinary day in the Turtle Mountains.  It's was the grand opening of Annie's House, a new ski-lodge and adaptive center.

 "From just providing assistance to someone who can ski traditionally, to someone who is unable to do that, we have mono-ski and a bi-ski to allow someone who's confined to a wheel chair, to actually be able to go down the slopes and have some independence, it's amazing," said Wally Branjord, Chairman of Bottineau's Winter Park Board. 

Dedicated to North Dakota native Ann Nicole Nelson who was killed during the 9-11 terrorist attacks, the adaptive center is a beacon of hope for families and individuals with disabilities.

 "That's what Ann was about," said Jeff Parness of NewYorkSaysThankYou.Org.
"She was a young woman who was from small town North Dakota who had visions of what the world had to offer and I think Annie's House brings all those dreams to life."

"What they're doing for kids with disabilities, not just physically, but cognitively, it's drastically increasing these kids quality of life.  It's so wonderful," said Hana Papenfuss, a first time skier. 

Hanna Papenfuss and her family made the drive from Fargo Saturday to celebrate the year and a half effort between the Bottineau Winter Park and the New York Says Thank You organization.

"The project evolved from an idea to maybe trying to build a small adaptive center here at the facility, to really combining Bottineau Winter Park with the adaptive center, and building what we have here today," said Brandjord. 

Taking a tragedy and turning it into engine of optimism, that was the goal of the Nelson family, and people like Hanna, are already recognizing the importance of Annie's House.

 "To have a place like this where kids can go and have fun and do a couple runs on the ski hill is just great.  You're always going to be different, you're always going to have differences, you're always going to have challenges, but this is one area where you can be just like everyone else," said Papenfuss. 


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