Wasatch Adaptive Sports Founder Peter Mandler Celebrates 50 Years at Snowbird and Receives the 2022 Dick Bass Summit Award
Founder of the local nonprofit, Wasatch Adaptive Sports, Peter Mandler was presented with the annual Dick Bass Summit Award on March 5th during the 36th annual HGGC Steve Young Ski Classic hosted at Snowbird.
Peter Mandler started his career in the ski industry in 1972 as a ski instructor at Snowbird under the tutelage of local ski legends, Junior Bounous and Jerry Warren. During his time as a student at Utah State University, Peter recognized the need for affordable and accessible recreational programs for individuals with adaptive needs. Peter took this vision back to Snowbird and founded Wasatch Adaptive Sports (WAS) in 1977 at just 26 years old. He approached Warren and Bounous and explained to them that he “felt there was a need for children and adults with disabilities to experience the same thing that we’re experiencing.”
Warren shared in a tribute video honoring Mandler that “Peter came in with just the kindness and the love and all the answers to help get somebody on skis on that big mountain. He told me, ‘Jerry, I can make this happen.’”
From humble beginnings as a ski program, Peter led the organization with unparalleled dedication growing it into a year-round operation serving thousands of children, adults, and veterans, the majority of which gain access to active living thanks to donor-supported scholarships. Peter is resolute in making his passion for outdoor recreation a space where people can learn skills and explore their unique goals. To this day, Peter remains more committed than ever to his vision while working directly with students and their families to realize their potential on the slopes and trails.
The year 2022 marks Peter’s 50th consecutive year of commitment to the ski industry at Snowbird. A remarkable career with plenty of miles still ahead, it is a profound honor to acknowledge Peter’s significant contributions to Utah’s adaptive community and outdoor industry through his work at Wasatch Adaptive Sports. Peter Mandler is this year’s recipient of the 2022 Dick Bass Summit Award.
This award is named after Dick Bass, Snowbird’s co-founder, whose legacy of support for Wasatch Adaptive Sports was underpinned by a fervent belief in the human potential, particularly in the mountains. It was this deep-seated value that solidified Dick’s commitment to every WAS student who has sought freedom, independence, and inclusion at Snowbird. WAS would not be the program it is today without the generous dedication of the Bass family.