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“I’ve always been active,”

Local Athlete Taking Vermont By Storm

Every winter, thousands of people take to the mountains of Vermont to experience all that the state has to offer. Paula McNeill is no different. This mother of two has spent the last seven years working as a buyer at Killington Resort, which also is her home mountain for skiing and outdoor recreation.

In 2010, Paula broke her back in a snowmobile accident, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. But after her accident, Paula found new ways to recreate.

“I’ve always been active,” she said. “If there wasn’t adaptive equipment to help me do the things I love, life would be really dismal!”  

Along with skiing, Paula is an avid biker, swimmer, and kayaker. Using a hand cycle, she frequently bikes along the Burlington bike path. She also participates in two 100-mile charity rides: The Kelly Brush Century Ride and the Long Trail Century Ride to benefit Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports. It’s easy for her to recreate in Vermont, she said, “You need to know where to go, but there are numerous places that are accessible.”  

She kayaks regularly in the Chittenden Reservoir and the Woodward Reservoir in Plymouth Vermont, which she finds very accessible because there is a boat ramp at both sites. Paula says you don’t necessarily have to be a good athlete to enjoy a sport like kayaking. “It’s a very easy sport to do as a para. It is so beautiful to paddle around in the water and get to see all of the beautiful surroundings. There are views that you can only get from the water.

“Vermont is such a beautiful state, and to be able to come here and recreate is beautiful,” she said. “The people here are willing to help and make it easy for you. Don’t be afraid to just jump right in and try it!”