Falls Creek in Victoria is now home to Australia’s first dedicated accessible alpine base.
The 36 bed facility was officially opened on Friday 8 June by Danielle Green MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism, Major Events and Regional Victoria.
Named Howmans Gap Alpine Accessible Accommodation Centre, the $3.79 million project is a joint venture of YMCA Victoria, the Victorian Government and Disabled Wintersport Australia (DWA).
It is hoped the facility will open up new sporting pathways for people of all abilities who enjoy winter sports and act as a modern athlete training base to develop future Winter Paralympic stars such as 2018 Winter Paralympian Co-Captains and DWA ambassadors Joany Badenhorst, Mitch Gourley and Mark Soyer.
YMCA Victoria Chief Executive Officer Peter Burns is looking forward to seeing people of all abilities enjoy the gorgeous scenery of Falls Creek and the fun of winter snow sports.
“This is more than just beds and recreation in a stunning location. This is an opportunity for us to change our practices and mindset with the whole community and all abilities in mind.”
“We are incredibly proud to be part of this nationally significant initiative to create more accessible, more inclusive and more innovative services so everyone can hit the slopes.”
DWA President, Paul Lamb is excited about what the facility will offer its members.
“It allows us to serve unmet demand in our disability programs with accessible accommodation.”
DWA Ambassador and world ranked Australian Para-snowboarder, Joany Badenhorst describes Howmans Gap as “freakin’ epic.”
“It offers every single person, regardless of ability, to live a life beyond their own limitation,” she says.
“This centre, teamed up with the incredible team that run and support it, will offer so many people the opportunity to live a life that highlights their strengths rather than focus on their weaknesses.
“It’s the one place where in snow sport, people of all abilities are equalised and encouraged to interact with the sport in a completely different way.”
Miss Badenhorst says participating in snow sport requires incredible manpower for someone with disability, from loading equipment, to getting to the top of the hill or finding an accessible place to somewhere to eat or rest, so the facility will allow greater ease of participation.
“Howmans Gap will now serve as a cornerstone for developing, supporting and maintaining Disabled Wintersport Australia.”
The facility will also allow more people to participate in DWA’s fun snow sports programs.
Howmans Gap can accommodate up to 174 people and is available for bookings now.
For more information on the facility, click here.
For more information on disability support and services, please visit DisabilitySupportGuide.com.au.