Adaptive Ski Program Helps Those With Disabilities Slide Down Slopes
It's a sport that some never thought possible, until community volunteers started spending their time every Sunday to change that.
"Rachael has no physical abilities and all of her cognitive abilities. So she knows she's going skiing, but this is her only opportunity to actually get to do something like this," said Rachael's mother Mary Ann Nelson.
Every Sunday, over a dozen community volunteers meet at Mount Kato to teach those with disabilities how to slide down the slopes.
"Each of us each week is paired with a skier and we know in advance who we're paired with. If someone is a seated skier, they'll work on learning how to use their rigors and learning how to initiate a turn. If they're a stand up skier, just like the rest of us, they'll learn how to work on their edging, their gliding, on their position on the skis. It's really a variety of things based on each skier," said Druschel.
One student, Grace Cain, was born with spina bifida. She says she's lucky that she's able to walk. Now, she's skiing.
"It's unbelievable. I love being able to come out here and be like everyone else, only a little bit different. But that's okay, because I have this opportunity and it's so much fun," said Cain.
Another student, Mike Hutchens, was born blind. But the sense of inclusion is one he'll always have.
"When I'm out here, I'm not a person with a visual impairment. I'm not a person with a disability. I'm just my normal self, skiing," said Hutchens.
At the end of the day, the program allows skiers to leave the slopes a little stronger and a little more confident in themselves.
"I had a few wipe outs, but I was able to recover. It's just fun to see that and not be too afraid to keep going," said Cain.
Hutchens added, "These programs are meant for people to have fun and to be included in society."
If you want to give back to the program, they will be hosting a fundraiser at Hooligans on March 16 from 5-7pm.
--KEYC News 12