19-year-old Sean Stern, from Murrieta (right), was recently surprised with customized adaptive sports equipment to help him participate and excel in winter sports. Valley News/Courtesy photo

At the 34th annual Hartford Ski Spectacular, hosted by Move United in Breckenridge, Colorado, a local adaptive athlete was surprised with their own adaptive sports equipment.

At this year’s event, The Hartford and Team Hartford athletes Matt Scott and Haily Danz surprised eight deserving athletes with custom-fit adaptive sports equipment to help them participate and excel in winter sports. One of those athletes is 19-year-old Sean Stern, from Murrieta.

Stern got involved with Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra, a Move United member organization headquartered at Mammoth Mountain in California, in 2009 at a winter sports camp. In 2012, he attended his first race camp, first in alpine skiing and then in Nordic. Stern previously attended The Hartford Ski Spectacular in 2017 and 2019. In 2018, he became a member of Move United’s Elite Team. His goal is to just get out there and ski and get some mileage to work on his Nordic skills.

Move United, an Affiliate of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, provides opportunities for individuals with disabilities to become physically and emotionally stronger through participation in 70 adaptive sports. By empowering 100,000 youth and adults with disabilities each year to live to their fullest potential, Move United’s 200 member organizations in 43 states are united by a single mission: ensuring everyone, regardless of ability, experiences the life-changing power of sport and is fully included in their community.

Established in 1956, Move United, the national leader in community adaptive sports, offers community-based sports recreation, education and competition that push people further, bring people closer and leave no one on the sidelines.

The Hartford Ski Spectacular is one of the nation’s largest and longest running winter adaptive sports events for individuals with physical disabilities. Approximately 650 participants, ranging in ability from first-time skiers to elite athletes, came together for the weeklong event, including world champion athletes Scott and Danz as well as Melissa Stockwell, Arlene Cohen, Chris Young, James Sides and Beatriz Hatz, all athletes that have competed in summer and winter sports at the international level.

The Hartford has been an advocate for the adaptive sports movement and sponsor of athletes with disabilities for more than 25 years and has a long-held belief that sports are an important part of physical rehabilitation following a disabling illness or injury. In 2019, the insurer created its Ability Equipped® program to make adaptive sports and equipment more accessible to youth and adults with disabilities. Recently, The Hartford announced an expanded partnership with Move United to include a summer competition series and the creation of the Move United OnDemand fitness platform.

For more information about adaptive sports opportunities, visit www.moveunitedsport.org. With more than 200 years of expertise, The Hartford, which is widely recognized for its service excellence, sustainability practices, trust and integrity, has more information on the company and its financial performance available at www.thehartford.com. Follow them on Twitter at @TheHartford_PR.

JP Raineri

JP is an award-winning multimedia journalist, and head of the Sports Department for the Valley News. Over his time in the Temecula Valley, JP, a former Southwestern League head baseball coach, was also an on-air radio personality at Q103.3, KATY 101.3, Hot 103.9, and was a television host for the Outdoor Channel. When not covering local, or national sports, JP also serves as an Associate Baseball Scout with NSR.