Jeff Inouye is inducted into the National Adaptive Sports Hall of Fame for his impact in the adaptive skiing industry. (Photo courtesy of Joe Kusomoto Photography)

Annually since 1995, the National Adaptive Sports Hall of Fame Award has recognized outstanding individuals who have made a significant contribution to summer and winter adaptive sports in two categories: Competitor and Contributor.  The Hall of Fame was created to honor individuals who have had an influential role in the field of adaptive sports as well as athletes who have excelled in it.

The Contributor category recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to the field, including innovative techniques, specialized equipment, program development, education and public relations.

This year’s awardee in the Contributor category is an individual who has not only dedicated themselves to winter adaptive sports but has also played a major role in shaping what the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center (BOEC) Adaptive Ski and Snowboard Program is today – Jeff Inouye.

Jeff has spent close to 30 years in the adaptive ski industry as a member of BOEC’s program team, first as a volunteer, then instructor, becoming Assistant Program Director in 1998, until being named BOEC’s Adaptive Ski and Snowboard Program Director in 2017.

Jeff says this about his time at BOEC, “I have been fortunate to be in this industry for almost 30 years and to be a part of such a special organization like the BOEC. The BOEC is one of the leaders in the industry and I have learned from so many people that have worked for our program including our previous Ski Program Director Gene Gamber. Over this time, I have tried to learn about all the different aspects of adaptive skiing and being a program director to contribute to the growth of the sport in as many ways as I can.”

Jeff and Gene Gamber worked together from 1998 until Gene’s retirement in 2017.

Jeff has also been a leader on the national level, including as a trainer for adaptive OEC/Chairlift Evacuation clinics for the National Ski Patrol, a Selector for the PSIA Adaptive National Team, a member of ANSI ASC B-77 committee for passenger tramways, and a National Ski Area Association Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee member.

While Jeff’s contribution to the adaptive sports world is national in scope, it is here at the BOEC and with other adaptive programs where Jeff’s impact is evident.  For 29 years Jeff has been dedicated to BOEC’s Adaptive Ski and Snowboard program with a passionate commitment to his students, partners, staff and interns. BOEC would not be what we are today without Jeff’s all-encompassing dedication to our mission.

Jeff teaches Kendall Gretsch, a member of Team USA’s Paratriathlon Team to shred!

Winter Intern class of 2021-2022 celebrate with Jeff

When asked about what has kept him passionate about his career, Inouye points to the adaptive ski community as his source of motivation. He says, “The adaptive community is a very close, tight-knit community, especially with adaptive skiing. There’s a true sense of sharing and community among all the adaptive programs in the country and that source of togetherness is really what it’s all about.”

Jeff isn’t the only BOEC leader who has been awarded this honor which is a testament to the dedication, commitment, knowledge and expertise of BOEC’s team.

In 2013, Gene Gamber, then BOEC Adaptive Ski Program Director was honored for his contributions to the adaptive sports world, his nomination stating that “Gene has been a longtime volunteer, instructor and program director who has trained hundreds of instructors”.

In 2018, Willie Stewart, who served as BOEC Program Director for 6 years from 1991-92 through 1995-96 was honored in the competitor category. “Willie Stewart is a three-time Paralympian, winning a silver medal at the 2002 Games.  He is the first and only disabled athlete to achieve Leadman recognition and the first above elbow amputee to kayak the Colorado River, among other accomplishments.

When asked what this award means to him, Jeff says, “It is truly an honor to be inducted into the Adaptive Sports Hall of Fame.  It is incredible to be included on a list with so many amazing people who have done so much for the adaptive industry.

He goes on to say, “I could not have accomplished this without the support of many people. I would like to thank all of the partners that have supported myself and the BOEC including Breckenridge and Keystone Resorts, Move United, US Paralympics, and all the manufacturers of the incredible adaptive equipment that we use every day. Of course, I also could not have done this without the support of my family, friends and especially my family at the BOEC. As they say, “it takes a village” and everyone that has worked for the BOEC has contributed to the success of the ski program and myself. I would also like to thank all the participants and their families that have been a part of the adaptive ski program. Their amazing courage and determination is an inspiration to us all every day.”

Jeff celebrates with his BOEC team members. Photo courtesy of Joe Kusomoto Photography

BOEC is so proud of Jeff, his many accomplishments, and his continued commitment not just to the BOEC Adaptive Ski and Snowboard Program but to the advancement of the adaptive ski industry at the national level.  Jeff has made a meaningful impact, a legacy in fact, that will always be part of BOEC.

Congratulations Jeff! We know you will be around for many years to come to continue the great work that you do.

You can read more about Jeff’s time at the BOEC on BOEC’s Blog page here.