Bode Miller's BODEFEST: Skiing & Golfing to Raise Money for Bretton Woods Adaptive Skiers
by Christine Lynn Harvey

Every year during spring, Bretton Woods Mountain Resort is home to the annual Bodefest, a ski/golf tournament hosted by Bode Miller, Olympic medalist and 2005 World Cup Winner. Bretton Woods offers a complete winter playground with chutes, bumps, bowls, steeps, glades and plenty of wide-open cruising terrain. This year's event was held April 29-May 1 and helped raise thousands of dollars and publicity for the adaptive ski program at the resort. Hundreds of skiers turned out to test their abilities and improve their times on the resort's modified giant slalom NASTAR race course ( Before entering the chute, skiers had their photos taken with Bode who also autographed skis for the participants. The day before the race, Bode received a special award from the governor of New Hampshire before the beer tasting ceremony sponsored by Harpoon Brewery. After some 200 skiers finished the race, everyone enjoyed a barbecue and then it was on to the championship golf course for a scramble tournament where players played the best ball on each hole.

The Mount Washington front and back nine (6,638 yards, 18 holes, par 71) designed and personally supervised by the famed Donald Ross in 1915, sits behind the historic Mount Washington Hotel while the Mount Pleasant front nine (3,215 yards, 8 holes, par 35) designed in 1895 by Alex Finley, is located in front of the hotel. The state's highest mountain, Mt. Washington, takes up much of the vista around the colossal hotel which is considered the largest wooden structure in New England. No expense was spared in building the Y-shaped hotel, which at the time of its construction around the turn of the last century, cost $1.2 million and was designed in Spanish Renaissance style. The original Tiffany stained glass windows are a ubiquitous feature and the elegant crystal chandeliers still hang in the dining room. Its impressive exterior boasts a porte cochere which crowns its entrance and a veranda the length of an entire wing. In 1978, the hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The hotel has an indoor and outdoor heated swimming pool, numerous clay tennis courts and an 18-hole putting green along the hotel's veranda. There is an all-you-can eat breakfast buffet in the morning and in the evening, dinner is elegant, requiring proper dress. In the lower level, a tavern called "The Cave" used to be a speakeasy during the Prohibition. Room rates include complimentary ice skate and snow shoe rentals, alpine and Nordic ski clinics and kids day camps.

There are also plenty of other activities to keep you busy in the area from taking a train ride along the cog railway and skiing down Mount Washington during the winter months to hiking along the Appalachian Trail to fly fishing and mountain biking through the beautiful White Mountains. Take a scenic road tour to the top of Mt. Washington, or along Route 302 through Crawford Notch or Interstate 93 to Franconia Notch. Shopping abounds at outlet centers in North Conway, about 30 miles away. For more info and a complete list of activities, visit: For more information about the Mount Washington Hotel and Resort at Bretton Woods, or signing up for next year’s Bodefest, call 1-800-258-0330 or visit: or


The Bretton Woods Adaptive Ski program began in 1998 and is a department of the Bretton Woods Ski School and a chapter of AbilityPlus and Disabled Sports USA. Many instructors are PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America)-certified and are highly trained in the specific categories of skiers they teach: blind, developmentally delayed, mono and bi-ski, 3-track, 4-track and others. Since skiing is a hazardous sport, instructors go through rigorous training to handle the special problems that can arise with each kind of disability. Mono-ski and bi-ski are for those skiers who must be seated in order to ski. The mono-ski is for those with good upper body strength and balance but little or no lower body strength. The bi-ski is for those who have weakness in all four extremities or who may have the use of only one arm and/or one leg in the case of a stroke. Sit-down skiers progress differently than other skiers in that there is no wedge turn for turning or stopping, but they control speed with turn shape as do all good skiers. Usually, a bi-skier learns skiing by being tethered by an instructor, a demanding skill to master. Three-track skiers are those that have the use of one good leg and need two outriggers for balance and support; an outrigger is like a crutch that has a flip ski on the end of it; a 4-tracker is a skier who skis on two skis with adaptive modifications and needs two outriggers for support.

The Adaptive program works with all kinds of skiers regardless of their disability - spinal cord injury, blind, post polio, amputation, Down Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, autism, and hearing impaired to name just a few. Visually or hearing impaired students can be taught to ski or snowboard. Some of the instructors are adaptive skiers themselves, so they know first-hand the challenges and triumphs faced by students and their families. It takes amazing strength of character, belief in one's self and overcoming very challenging obstacles to be an adaptive skier. The motto of Disabled Sports USA is, "If I can do this, I can do anything."

Cris Criswell is Bretton Woods' Adaptive Ski School Supervisor. When he was 12, he was diagnosed with polio, one of the last children in the 1950's who did not receive the Salk vaccine in time. He was told by doctors he would never walk again. When he was 53, he suffered a post polio syndrome crisis and was told by his therapist to take up skiing as part of his therapy. "I never skied before in my life," he says, "but I followed her advice and have been skiing for the past 10 years and love it." Since he has retired, Criswell skis at least 120 days a year as a mono skier.

Jeff Krill is a PSIA-level 3 examiner and on PSIA's Development team, which is a select team of skiers who show the other instructors how it's done. He is the only mono-skier to have skied down Tuckerman Ravine, a very challenging bowl on the east side of Mt. Washington. Meryl Jacobson was an able-bodied skier until a blood clot caused by a ski injury damaged all the nerves in one of her legs. She also was told by doctors she would never have full use of her leg and could never ski again. She is a three-track skier/instructor who oversees the training of volunteers for the school.

Amazing adaptive skiers participated in the Bodefest. Some of them were independent bi-skier Chris Hart whose outriggers are taped to his arms and whose disability is cerebral palsy; US Disabled Ski Team members Andy Parr, a blind skier and Tyler Walker (see photo) who was born without legs. All these adaptive skiers should really be considered non disabled because of their fortitude. To see these athletes racing down a NASTAR course, knowing they have overcome incredible odds, gives you an exhilarating feeling that if they can do it, you can too! For more information, to make a donation or to find out how to become a student or volunteer, please call (603) 991-3133 or visit this link: or email .

For results of the 2005 Bodefest click here or to register for next year click here.

Getting the Right Ski Boot Fit

Mount Washington Hotel
One of the hotel's luxurious rooms
18 hole putting green
Heated outdoor swimming pool
US Disabled Ski team member Tyler Walker competed in this year's Bodefest
Chris Hart, bi-skier with Cerebral Palsy also competed in the Bodefest
World Cup Champion Bode Miller, a supporter of Bretton Woods' Adaptive Ski Program and host of the Bodefest
Blind skiers of the Caroll Center of the Adaptive Ski Program at Bretton Woods
Adaptive skier learns how to ski by first being tethered, a very demanding skill for both instructor and skier
Learning to off-load from the ski lift
Cris Criswell with Mt. Washington in background
Adaptive skiers learning how to ski
Cris Criswell (L) Supervisor of the Adaptive Ski Program at Bretton Woods and World Cup Champion Bode Miller (R)