Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) Idaho held its second-ever Winter Sports Weekend for the year 2024 and it was a huge success. Over the course of the weekend 52 individuals participated in at least one clinic, and 41 participated in all three.

Athletes and their families gathered to join CAF for their three-day Winter Sports Weekend where they had the opportunity to engage in various winter sports alongside other adaptive athletes. World-class coaches led athletes of all experience levels and ages as they hit the slopes. 

“This was the second year we hosted a Winter Sports Weekend and it was even better than year one! We had over 50 people attend the three day event that included downhill skiing, Nordic skiing, and sled hockey. We were also able to utilize the Idaho Outdoor Fieldhouse for participants to swap stories over dinner in the evenings. Many people got to try a sport for the first time and lots of new friends were made. It was an awesome 3 days for all involved!”

-Heather Lopez, Regional Director of CAF Idaho


Each day unveiled a new sport, including Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding, Sled Hockey, and Nordic Skiing as well as a Biathlon. This was the first CAF Idaho event to run out of the Idaho Outdoor Fieldhouse. CAF hosted nightly dinners for the athletes and their families, as well as a movie night in the gymnasium where they showed the movie The Approach which features a CAF coach, Anna Soens.

CAF Winter Sports Weekend participants during the movie preview of The Approach in the gymnasium of the Idaho Outdoor Fieldhouse.

CAF Idaho kicked off its Winter Sports Weekend with Sled Hockey and Alpine Skiing. Leading the way were Paralympians Josh Sweeney, Lera Doederlein, Andy Yohe, and Laurie Stephens, who offered invaluable coaching and served as inspirational figures for CAF athletes.

Split into groups of 15, sets of athletes were guided through the various activities. By using specially designed sleds, Sled Hockey enables athletes with disabilities that prevent them from standing to engage in ice hockey. The athletes were guided through various drills intended to teach the players how to maneuver with their sleds, pass, and shoot the puck into the net.

 CAF athlete engaging in a Sled Hockey drill where the athletes learn to maneuver around the cones while maintaining control over the puck.

While some groups played sled hockey at Idaho IceWorld, other groups participated in downhill skiing at Bogus Basin. Several different types of adaptive ski equipment can be utilized depending on each individual’s specific needs.

From Outriggers—adaptive ski poles with small skis attached—to Mono and Bi-skis, which offer seated skiing experiences with either one or two blades, there’s a range of adaptive ski equipment available for anyone looking to join in on the fun. Paralympian Laurie Stephens, who has won a multitude of Olympic medals, guided athletes through their downhill skiing experience.

CAF athlete using a bi-ski during her run down the ski hill. Bi-Skiing can be done using outriggers and tethers which are the reins attached to the ski.


Day three of CAF’s Winter Sports Weekend featured Nordic Skiing, which is uniquely accessible for adaptive athletes due to its diverse range of equipment options and adaptable techniques. With Nordic skiing, there’s more of an emphasis on endurance and technique rather than speed or complex maneuvers, making it more inclusive for adaptive athletes. Athletes of all ages hit the slopes, coached by Paralympians Josh Sweeney and Lera Doederlein.


Winter Sports Weekend is just one of CAFs various Apex Adventures. These experiences offer more than just an entry point to new sports; they foster community connections, allowing participants to engage with like-minded individuals who share a passion for exploring sports.

As the first major CAF event to run out of the Idaho Outdoor Fieldhouse, this years Winter Sports Weekend has paved the way for future gatherings. We look forward to seeing more events like these at the Idaho Outdoor Fieldhouse. Learn more about future CAF events at

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