Monday, 13 July 2015

Disability snowsport at Chill Factore


James modelling the Sitski
It all started when I ran across Disability Snowsports and contacted them to organise an event for Little Hiccups. It turns out that there are special skis for the less-abled (and the person that developed these is nothing short of genius). These skis are called Sitskis and they look exactly like their name suggests. The user sits down in a modified chair and are strapped in for safety. There is then an instructor that controls the skis from the back so the user gets the full experience of the snow, the speed and the sheer exhilaration of skiing down the hill.
We had four slots with two Sitskis and eight standing skis per slot and from the moment we arrived help was at hand. Steve from Disability Snowsports was on hand at all times helping organise, direct, put snowboots, gloves, hats, coats on, fill out forms and guide us all to our relevant places. How he remained calm on the face of our swirling chaos I don't know but he did!

Then, sweating heavily in our many layers, we went through the doors to the ski slope and was suddenly very, very glad of the extra warmth. I don't know if it is proper snow (something I'll have to look into) but it certainly felt like it. Especially when I repeatable fell over in it.   

The stand-up Skiers getting to grips with it all...
It took a while for the eight of us in our group to organise ourselves in the right positions and to get all our skis on. On my way to our very safe and sectioned off part (obviously they know how to deal with beginners!) I have this vivid memory of Oliver, one of our children, reaching the bottom of the slope in the Sitskis and frantically signing "more". That moment by itself made me smile and for it a worthwhile trip. 

But then it was our turn and our instructor who had a level of patience far beyond mine, showed us how to walk up hills in skis, brake, ski down and even bunny hop. It was an hilarious hour and I must have fallen several times and had to help my children up the slope while trying to keep my own balance for several more times. The children loved it however and were naturals and I had several requests afterwards for ski lessons. 

The hour flew by and it was suddenly the next groups turn all too quickly. My ankles and knees were glad of the break and after meeting and greeting the next chaotic group, again being guided by Steve, we sneaked off for an ice-cream break before returning home.

Sitski In Use
Visiting Chill Factore definately opened our eyes to just what we are capable of. To think that our Hiccups kid's were zooming down a snowy mountain is just amazing. As the group founder, Linsay quite aptly put it: "Our kids Rock! We refuse to let disabilities get in our way of having fun! ... Yet another fantastic day with our Little Hiccup families. Awesome kids and very proud parents ....my little dude lead the way down the slope.My incredible little boy. Bursting with pride."

We'll be back for definite next year.

Very proud!