Danny Pufpaff, a former ski instructor in N w York, entered the world of adaptive skiing during rehabilitation. In 1971, he stepped on a land mine in Vietnam, losing-his left lef and severely damaging his right leg. But by 1973, he was back to skiing, this time as a 3-tracker who taught both able-bodied and disabled skiers at Loveland Ski School in Colorado. The next year, he joined the US Disabled Ski Team, where he competed until 1987. The highlight of his racing career included five national slalom championships, an overall North American championship, and several top-five finish in international competition.
In 1984, Pufpaff brought his racing experience to the slopes of Winter ParI Re ort, where he began his coaching care r with the newly formed Winter Park Disabled Ski Team. He became head coach in 1987. In the 15 years he coached the team, many medal-winning members of the US Disabled Ski Team received training there, and the Winter Park skiers dominated regional and national competition. Under his watch, the team also established Learn-to-Race programs in other areas of the country introducing young skier to the excitement of ski racing.
Despite his own accomplishment on the slopes, Pufpaff says “The medals I’m most proud of are the on that were won by the athletes I had the privilege of coaching.” Danny’s mentor through life has been football coach Mike Ditka. For his dedication to the athletes who take ski racing to the highest levels, Danny Pufpaff has earned induction in the National Disabled Ski Hall of Fame.