Kimberley Barreda loves the outdoors and being active. She spends winter days on the slopes of Big Mountain and summer days kayaking the Middle Fork of the Flathead River.
She is always pushing herself for new adventures and doing what she can to make sure others are too.
“When I get to ski and look around it’s so peaceful,” she says from her home just outside Whitefish. “It’s so much fun to be outdoors.”
Her passion for the outdoors was honored recently with an 2018 Outdoor Inspiration Award, presented by Adidas Outdoor, during the Outdoor Retailer show in Denver, Colorado.
The Outdoor Inspiration Awards celebrate individuals, nonprofits and companies who inspire and motivate others to explore the outdoors.
Barreda is the founder of Unlimbited.com founder and an editor for “Disability Today” magazine. Barreda, a double above-the-knee amputee, describes herself as “a writer and reviewer, website developer, networker, marketer and business consultant specializing in the disabled community.”
Through Unlimbited.com she recruits sponsors to assist in providing ski passes, tickets, lessons, funds, sports gear and free use of outdoor and sports equipment for folks with disabilities. She has more than 35 years experience in disabled sports, entertainment, events and media.
Barreda was chosen for the award from a distinguished field of notable nominees that included Klaus Obermeyer of Obermeyer outdoor clothing, Christy Pelland of SheJumps.org, and John Sterling, Director of the Conservation Alliance.
Her list of fellow nominees had Barreda unprepared for when her name was announced as the winner during the awards ceremony in Colorado earlier this winter. She recalls saying a quick thank you and exiting the stage, while winners in other categories came prepared with lengthy speeches.
“I was blown away,” she said.
As the owner of the Unlimbited brand, Unlimbited Adaptive Sports, and AdaptiveSkiing.net, Barreda works to breaks the mold of the traditional “charity model” through her relentless advocacy of active living and full participation for disabled people. Financial and equipment support, including individual sponsorships, are made possible by connecting athletes and personalities with top brands and organizations rather than through donations.
Barreda began her own athletic career at 14 competing as a swimmer and in track and field for Ontario competing in events in Canada and the U.S. Her professional life includes a successful modeling acting career, which she parlayed into a career as an agent representing top names in the disability community.
Barreda began skiing in 1994 with an adaptive program, but says her whole experience changed after she was able to get her own monoski that she was able to tweak to fit her. She has since paid thousands of dollars for custom ski equipment to make the experience for herself and those that borrow her equipment even better.
Though she willingly shares stories about her own adventures, Barreda gets more excited talking about the latest helmet or pair of ski gloves she has recently secured for one of Unlimited’s athletes.
“I love it when there’s a kid and his family that have no idea there is equipment or programs exist that can get him skiing and then we make it happen,” she said. “It gives me satisfaction that you take a kid who doesn’t feel like he has any options and is left behind, and now he has sponsors.”
She is constantly seeking out and reviewing products and equipment — outdoors and otherwise — that can improve lives, and she’s worked on product designs to give feedback about how in-development products can be improved to better assist those with disabilities. She’s continually looking for ways that equipment can be made better, but also more cost effective to get more folks out living life’s adventures.
“It’s expensive,” she said. “If there’s a disabled person in the family then that means that there’s often somebody that’s going without. The more people we can fit with equipment and make it more available that makes it easier to manufacture and gets the price down.”
Visit Unlimbited.com for more information.