Ski and snowboard volunteer information

 Information for new volunteers

CKRI volunteer skiCourage Kenny Ski and Snowboard is one of the largest volunteer adaptive ski and snowboard programs in the country. Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute gives more than 1,200 lessons each year at six locations across Minnesota and Wisconsin. More than 400 dedicated volunteer instructors support our adaptive ski and snowboard program.

Whether you are an expert on the slopes or have little on-hill experience, we are always looking for enthusiastic and reliable people to join our team. All volunteers will receive training in teaching techniques, disability awareness and adaptive equipment.

Join us, you'll have fun, make new friends and provide an experience that can change a person's life forever.

What will I be doing as a volunteer instructor?

Volunteers are needed as instructors, assistant instructors, buddies, pit crew, equipment and volunteer/participant check in. Each lesson has at least a 2:1 ratio of volunteers to participants, tailoring an individualized lesson. Every volunteer receives training each season and is placed with seasoned instructors to gain the necessary experience to provide safety, fun and learning for each participant.

Our season runs from November-March. Volunteer training begins in November; our nine-week program runs January – March, with one week off mid-season.

Locations

Metro:  Welch Village, Hyland Hills, Afton Alps, and Trollhaugen

Northland:  Spirit Mountain, Giants Ridge and Lutsen

We do our best to accommodate the area that serves you best, but we need to ask for flexibility based on participant needs.

Map of CKSS Locations

How do I become a volunteer?

To get started as a new Ski and Snowboard volunteer, complete the three steps below. Once these are completed, we will reach out to you with next steps!

  1. Start by filling out our online application
  2. Fill out our volunteer preference form
  3. Complete the online training module

Volunteer requirements

New volunteers - attend two days of on-the-hill training in your adaptive discipline (ski or snowboard).

Returning volunteers - attend one day of on-the-hill training in your adaptive discipline

Dryland Training

An indoor clinic required for all new volunteers, so mark your calendar! This is our opportunity to meet each other, learn about Courage Kenny, ask questions and complete required volunteer paper work including: background check, liability waivers, media consent waivers, and more.

On-the-hill Training

Two full days of on-the-hill training are required for new volunteers. The weekend dates correspond to the discipline you are interested in and the area in which you are volunteering. These are day-long events so come prepared to have fun and learn.

Program Dates

Commitment to the full 6-8 week season is encouraged for the consistency of our participants, their safety and learning.

View the calendar for the 2021-2022 season for the Metro-area sites.

Contact Information

Khara Hesse, coordinator of volunteers, new volunteers

612-775-2724

Mari Salveson, coordinator of volunteers, returning volunteers

612-775-2729

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

How good of a skier/rider do I need to be to volunteer?

We have many volunteer roles for people of all abilities. If you are interested in an on-hill experience, you will need to be an intermediate skier or rider. See Volunteer Role and Definitions under Volunteer Training Materials.

Is it OK if I cannot ski backward or ride switch?

It is OK if you cannot ski backward nor do you need to ride switch. However, if you are game, we will teach you. As a volunteer instructor, assistant or buddy you will have the opportunity to learn a lot of different things, but are not required to do anything that makes you uncomfortable. 

Why do I have to go to three days of training?

It is our goal to provide the safest lesson possible each session for every participant and volunteer. To assure that this is possible training is required. There are many facets to adaptive sports, and three days is just the beginning.

What types of disabilities do participants have?

Participants range in age from six to 90 old, with disabilities including cerebral palsy, Autism Spectrum Disorder, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, spina bifida, stroke and visual impairments among others.

Will I work one-on-one with a participant?

This depends on the ability level of the participant.  We make an effort to begin every lesson with a 2:1 ratio and make adjustments from there.

I cannot attend all of the program days, can I still volunteer?

While it is ideal to have volunteers at every lesson, we understand that life happens. We can accommodate one or two absences per season. Beyond that, we may need your assistance to sub on other days and at other sites.

I cannot attend all of the required trainings, can I still volunteer?

All volunteers must attend the required trainings. However, there are alternate trainings available which are not mandatory. Please communicate all absences as soon as possible to your volunteer coordinator.

When and how will I select my volunteer site?

When applying to volunteer the Volunteer Preference Form will indicate your preference for ski location, discipline and training sign-up. We do our best to accommodate all requests. However, we cannot guarantee that you will be placed at your preferred location.

I want to help where there is the highest need, what role would that be?

Choose the role that you will have the most consistency. The program and participant benefit most from having volunteers that are present as much as possible.

I am not quite of the minimum age by the first day of training and programs, can exceptions be made?

No, unfortunately the minimum age requirement for our program is 16 on the first day of training.

Volunteer training materials

Volunteer Roles & Definitions

Part 1 - Ski & Snowboard Volunteer Manual

Part 2 - Ski & Snowboard Volunteer Manual

Clinic outlines

Courage Kenny Ski & Snowboard Safety Procedures

Bi-ski clinic outlines

Snowboard clinic outlines

Mono-ski clinic outlines

Stand up clinic outlines