Ability Blog Archives - National Ability Center


While highlighting the triumphs, talents and success stories of National Ability Center participants and partners, we are taking a look into our staff that make our programs possible year-round. Meet Devon Keir.

Devon was a former NAC intern turned ski instructor, universal-staff member, and overall outdoor recreation lover. Find out a bit more about Devon and what the NAC employee life is all about. Read More

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About the blogger: About the blogger: Successful entrepreneur and motivational speaker, Mike Ray was living the life, traveling the world to share his principles of business success and surrounded by a loving family of six children and his wife, Lynette. However in 2013, life threw Mike for a spin. Here is their story.

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Jake and Rebecca Risch Share Possibility

The National Ability Center is one big, warm community. Everyone is welcomed and encouraged to try new things and push their limits.”

When a sit skier caught the imaginations of Houston twins, Jake and Rebecca Risch, their family vacation at Deer Valley Resort became an opportunity to make an impact. With a little research and a visit to the National Ability Center, the Risches found the National Ability Center to be the perfect Mitzvah project for their upcoming B’nai Mitzvah.

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Amy Muller: Make it “You Can”

Guest Blogger Amy Muller shares her National Ability Center experience.

About the blogger: The Marketing Director for Accessible Systems of Utah, Amy Muller loves to run, travel and is an adventure enthusiast. Her experiences have fueled her passion to help those with disabilities and the aging population lead independent lives at home and on the road. Amy, her husband Jameson and four daughters came to Park City and the National Ability Center in December of 2014 with the Help of the Make A Wish Foundation of Utah.

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Jose Fernandez-Gill: Paying it Forward

It’s because of the confidence and self esteem I learned through skiing that I’ve been able to move forward.


In 2012 Jose Fernandez-Gill moved to Salt Lake City, Utah from the mainland of Hawaii, and found a passion and the confidence that would change his world for the better.

A U.S. veteran, Jose had felt overwhelmed by his diagnosis with severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as severe general anxiety disorder. Despite it’s impact on his life, Jose held his diagnosis back, hoping no one would find out. Eventually, he accepted his diagnosis and started on the path to healing with his new service dog, Pele and recommendations that exercise could help him control his panic attacks.
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Saylor O’Brien: Driven

Action Camp opened up a world Saylor knew was there but had not really seen as of yet; it introduced her to people that could help her achieve her dreams and continue that spirit of being able to do anything.

learning to bi skiThe National Ability Center’s 2015-16 season is just beginning at Park City, and one young skier is getting an early start on her 2022 Paralympic dreams.
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Layla Shelmire: Overcoming the Unexpected

Stories like Layla’s remind us that the abilities many of us take for granted, such as treading water, expressing emotions or displaying resilience in the face of adversity can mean everything.

At just three years of age, Layla Shelmire joined the National Ability Center’s aquatics and equestrian program this summer. Her family hoped that recreating with the National Ability Center could help her learn new skills, build self-esteem and form lasting relationships. They could not have anticipated these lessons might also save her life. Read More

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Park City : A Partner In Ability

“Our senior leadership offsite at the NAC was an inspiring experience … It reinforced what a remarkable organization the NAC is to the Park City community and the pride we have in the partnership we have together.”

-Deirdra Walsh, Director of Mountain Dining, Park City

“For many of us, this was our first time at the NAC,” says Park City‘s Director of Marketing, Davy Ratchford, of the resort’s recent senior leadership offsite at the National Ability Center Ranch.

The retreat, focused on capitalizing on team strengths and each person’s unique abilities to help operate America’s largest ski resort with world-class precision, provided Park City’s leadership an opportunity to experience the impact of their work with the National Ability Center from a new perspective – the perspective of those who the partnership impacts every day.

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Ken Duke: Unstoppable

_sRAPXYHufhcgeCEv3DO3i_GOE717_84tRbcXAFxZsc“Without the NAC’s cycling program and equipment, I would not have the personal resources to train for this year’s 52-mile Summit Challenge. ”

—Ken Duke

Ken Duke is not one to let anything get in his way.

In fact, his journey to the National Ability Center can take as many as four hours each way. It begins with a one-mile walk to a bus stop near his home in Salt Lake City. Next, Ken takes two buses and Park City’s Dial-A-Ride public transit service to meet up with our adaptive sport programs.
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