Michaela Welch is a Renaissance Woman; she does it all. The 27 year-old Truckee local with cerebral palsy and bi-lateral hearing loss participates in every Achieve Tahoe activity, plays music, runs her own business, is a graduate of the University of Nevada Path to Independence program, and is a part of both the Tahoe Ability Program (TAP) and Elevation, local day groups for adults with developmental disabilities.

Michaela started skiing with Achieve Tahoe 8 years ago, and since then has made enormous progress. Now she can ski blue terrain consistently, and she’s always pushing herself to get better.

“My goals for skiing is to not ski all the way across the mountain but to ski down the mountain staying in my line,” Michaela says. “I also like when I ski with friends. I have fun.”

Her instructors , who have all become Michaela’s friends, love working with her to help her achieve her goals.

“Working with Michaela is just the best.  She is so eager to learn and has such a positive attitude,” says Hannah Sullivan, Achieve Tahoe instructor and board member. “Even when I ask her to try new movements that are not necessarily easy or comfortable, she keeps trying until she masters it.  What a pleasure Michaela is to have as a student (and friend).”

Michaela initiates a turn on skis while smiling.
A group from TAP and Elevations, including Michaela, participates in Achieve Tahoe’s hiking program.

Michaela is also a regular participant at other Achieve Tahoe programs, and enjoys recreating in the Lake Tahoe area on her own time too.

“My favorite things to do in Tahoe is ski, snowshoe, swim, hiking, and archery,” Michaela says. “A favorite memory with Achieve Tahoe is summer sports.”

At our Sierra Summer Sports program on Donner Lake, Michaela has gone tubing, PWC riding, kayaking, and paddle boarding with her friends in TAP and Elevation. She has also attempted to teach volunteers and her friends paddle board yoga, demonstrating impressive poses and inspiring others to keep trying, even when they loose their balance and fall in the water.

When Michaela isn’t participating with Achieve Tahoe, she has lots of other passions that she pursues.

“I like to play instruments and sing and do art. I’m learning how to play the drums and guitar,” she says. “I also work at the Humane Society, walking the dogs and playing with the cats, and I work at the thrift store. My favorite kind of dog is a Golden Retriever.”

Michaela also run’s her own business, Tahoe Dog Gear, which makes handcrafted dog collars and leashes inspired by the beauty of her home in North Lake Tahoe.

“I created Tahoe Dog Gear when I graduated high school in 2015. My dad and I do all the artwork, ” she says. “I run it with Elevation now by doing festivals and online orders.”

Michaela smiles with her hand on hip while working a booth for her business, Tahoe Dog Gear.

Michaela’s advice to anyone thinking of participating with Achieve Tahoe?

“If you’re nervous, there’s nothing to be nervous about. Skiing with Achieve is fun and supportive! Just do it!”

Thank you Michaela for sharing your story with Achieve Tahoe, and we look forward to seeing you again soon at our programs!