Verbier4All

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Verbier4All

July 29, 2019

We caught up with Bethan Drinkall from SKi4All Wales to find out about an exciting new partnership they have forged with Verbier to put accessibility at the forefront.

"We are pleased to announce the creation of the charitable association, Verbier4All.

This is about inclusion! Verbier and the mountains that surround it, offer a wonderland that everyone should have the chance to enjoy. Verbier4All aims to make that happen. 

By providing access to the necessary equipment and trained ‘buddies’, by working closely with Téléverbier, the tourist office and local businesses, we aim to ensure that anyone, regardless of physical or visual deficit, can access the mountains all year round and enable Verbier to evolve into a gold standard resort for adaptive activities.

Verbier4All has already received the backing of Téléverbier which is now actively planning to make its infrastructures more user-friendly for people with a physical or visual deficit. Téléverbier has indicated that some improvements will already be apparent this summer.


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Background

Verbier4All has for some time been the aspiration of Valérie Vaucher and Annick Meystre. Upon meeting Bethan Drinkall and her team from Ski4All Wales, it became apparent that the moment was right to put their combined expertise, experience and love for Verbier to work. Joined in the venture by Belgian, François de Borchgrave, a Verbier regular whose disabled son started skiing the slopes of Verbier this year, Verbier4All is truly representative of Verbier’s international identity.

Advised by Annick who has a wealth of experience running Défisport Association in Conthey, Valais and supported by Ski4All Wales which runs an adaptive ski club in Wales and has ten years’ experience of bringing adaptive skiers to Verbier, Verbier4All plans to establish a library of adaptive equipment based in the heart of Verbier for the legitimate use of all for a nominal charge* designed to cover maintenance and repairs. The association also aims to facilitate the creation of and access to a pool of qualified buddies. Verbier4All expects to adapt and grow organically according to demand, but Annick Meystre’s long-term aspiration is to see the new association offer tailored activities in all seasons.

It is the aim of Verbier4All’s founders that the association be staffed entirely by volunteers and all funds raised go directly to support the association’s activities. For that reason, they have elected to create a completely independent charitable organisation with its own fundraising capabilities and transparent finances. 

The momentum behind the association and its composition reflect the truly international identity of Verbier, with members from Switzerland, Britain, and Belgium making this a truly cross-border undertaking. 

Valérie Vaucher, President of Verbier4All is the mother of two children, one of whom is a young adult with a hereditary neurodegenerative condition. She will shortly qualify as a social worker with a Bachelor degree in Social Work.Valériehas a vast experience of running sporting organisations: including 8 years as the President of Sion Club Sion where she immensely enjoyed sharing her love of skiing. In order to help her daughter continue her favourite sport – skiing, Valérie trained to become a sit-ski pilot.

Bethan Drinkall, Vice President is the Chair and founder of an adaptive ski charity called Ski4All Wales. As a specialist neurological physiotherapist with over 25 years’ experience in neurological rehabilitation, and alongside several other therapists, runs adaptive ski sessions every Wednesday at a local plastic ski slope.she has over 10 years’ practical experience of running adaptive ski trips to Verbier which gives her invaluable insight into how to forge Verbier into a gold-standard adaptive ski resort.

Annick Meystres, Technical Manager Annick Meystre, Technical Manager is a well-known expert in the field of disabled sport in Switzerland and runs Défisport with her husband Serge, himself paraplegic. She is also a member of the committee of Défisport Association and a member of board of Directors of the Swiss Paraplegic Association. She holds a Bachelor degree in Social Work (special educational needs) and is as nimble in a wheelchair as on her feet, playing wheelchair basketball at club level. Her wealth of knowledge on adaptive sports/activities will be of immeasurable value to Verbier4All."

Facebook: www.verbier4all.com and Instagram: @verbier4all

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