Owners hope stolen sit-skis will be returned
Two volunteers with the National Sports Center for the Disabled lost their teaching tools and independence when someone stole the SUV containing their sit-skis Wednesday night in Granby.
Mark Urich and Jane Sowerby have volunteered for the NSCD for a decade, teaching athletes with disabilities how to ski and build their skills. Sowerby is a former Paralympian who competed in Vancouver. Urich has a background in competitive ski racing.
Now they are spreading the word about the recent car theft with hope their sit-skis will be returned to them.
“We can’t really teach until we get (the sit-skis) back or get new ones, and it’s not something you can just buy off the shelf,” Urich said. “We’re kind of the only ones that teach from a sit-ski (at the NSCD).”
Urich and Sowerby came home from skiing Wednesday afternoon and parked their 2007 black Honda Pilot on 8th Street and East Jasper Court in Granby. The next morning, it was gone with the pair’s sit-skis and gear inside.
Both the car and the skis were adapted specific to Sowerby’s and Urich’s needs. As Urich explained, sit-skis are customized to the skier’s body, making them virtually useless for almost anyone else.
Just to replace Urich’s and Sowerby’s sit-skis, they are looking at around $30,000. In addition, the Honda had adaptive hand controls.
“We’re almost grieving about it because it’s sad to think they’re not going to do anything with (the sit-skis),” Urich said. “They’re only valuable to us, really.”
Sowerby was also broken up the loss, noting that her ability to get around, as well as to continue teaching, has been hindered by the theft.
“(Skiing) literally changed my life overnight after becoming paralyzed and being in a wheelchair,” Sowerby said. “It’s exactly what I needed. That freedom that you get from adaptive skiing, it’s hard to beat.”
So far, the only silver lining, Urich said, has been the support from the community and fellow adaptive skiers. Friends have set up a GoFundMe account that has already raised over $12,000. Denver7 is also collecting funds on behalf of Urich and Sowerby to replace their skis.
Granby police continue to investigate the theft.
People are encouraged to look out for a black Honda Pilot with handicap plate BJN-Q49. If anyone spots the vehicle or has any other information about the theft, they can call police at 970-887-3007.
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Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the identity of the woman Fraser Winter Park police arrested on Wednesday.