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Flathead nonprofit turns DREAMs into a reality

By Rebecca Vogt, KCFW Reporter, rvogt@kcfw.com
Published On: Jan 17 2013 07:52:36 PM MST
Updated On: Jan 17 2013 08:46:40 PM MST
WHITEFISH, Mont. -

DREAM Adaptive gave three men a chance to get back on the slopes Thursday morning using specialized ski gear.

"I had fun - just the same as any high schooler would. Now I guess I have a different way of getting around," said Kolter Beneitone.

Twenty-one year old Kolter Beneitone's life turned upside down last March - the Florence man was involved in a horrific rollover crash that rendered him paralyzed from the waist down. But his physical therapist assistant said Kolter refused to give up his adventurous lifestyle.

"He's done a lot," explained Dan Boonstrom. "He's kept going with it. We're kind of tailoring [his therapy] to hat he wants to do. Keeping him as strong as we can and as mobile as we can."

Kolter and his mom learned about DREAM Adaptive's programs, designed to help folks with disabilities get out and experience activities in the winter and summer. So, Kolter signed up and was at Whitefish Mountain Resort on Thursday learning how to mono-ski.

"It's definitely tough but it's fun and definitely worth the aggravation and everything that goes into it," said Kolter.

"I mean... third run only and he's getting it," said Boonstrom. "I figure by the end of the day we're going to be on top of the mountain!"

Experiences like Kolter's are why Jerry Mahugh has been involved with DREAM for over 20 years.

"We've seen situations where people - it looked like it would be impossible for that they could ski or do most anything," said Mehugh. "A year or two later, here they are skiing. And some of them completely on their own. It's amazing the change that takes place in some of their lives."

A change Kolter hopes to make more permanent as he perfects his mono-ski moves.

"I guess I kind of take it as a privilege that I get to take an adventure that not everyone else gets to," said Kolter, "[I] get to come out and do this and I'm definitely thankful that I'm still out there able to do this kind of stuff. I'm definitely blessed."