Winter interns make a six-month commitment (November 1-April 30), working primarily for the Adaptive Ski & Snowboard Program based out of Peak 9 at 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 workday 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 kids on the spectrum, 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
“It is hard to put into words the impact that the BOEC made on me in just 4.5 months. I was not only impacted by the students on my lessons but by the entire BOEC staff and of course my fellow interns who I now consider family. Through transitioning to lead positions on lessons, being entrusted with great responsibilities, and having a support group of the most patient and accepting people, I gained confidence in who I am as an individual and it sparked a desire in me to be my authentic self in every situation of life.”
“The 2019-2020 winter season impacted my horizons in unforeseen ways. I now know what master’s program I want to pursue, I’ve made everlasting connections with peers and participants, I now consider Breckenridge as a home I can always come back to, and BOEC has helped me build confidence in skills I never thought I would excel in. In addition to all of this, BOEC staff have shown me what can be achieved when a group of like-minded, yet diverse, group of individuals come together under a common goal.”
“The BOEC, as always, had an incredible impact on me this winter. I learned so much and it solidified by decision to pursue a career in this field.”
“The winter internship was a beautiful challenge. Each day, I was pushed to learn something new and step outside of my comfort zone. I had the opportunity to share my passion for skiing with over 60 individuals in just 4 months. As someone who thrives off change, I was able to constantly switch up my daily routine while still maintaining close relationships with other interns and staff. I will forever hold close to my heart the friendships that I’ve made at the BOEC and can’t wait to return next season.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”