This past weekend was the first ever adaptive ski event at Great Bear Recreational Park
in Sioux Falls, SD and to say it was an absolute blast is an understatement! For this being Great Bear’s first time ever doing an adaptive ski event they did a wonderful job. The Great Bear staff and volunteers were great in their training and it showed when it came time for us to ski.
I haven’t skied since Ski For Light
2011 so this was a real treat to do it so close to home. Great Bear is literally a five minute drive from my house. I knew Great Bear had sit skis, but having only skied one time in my life I am not advanced enough to just go there and do it myself. Kudos to those of you that can! This was my first time using arm riggers. My pit crew (John, Jimmy, and Rob) as I called them, or the 3 old guys as they called themselves were really good with helping me start out on those. We started on the bunny hill for a few runs and once they thought I was good enough onto the ski lift and the big hill we went. IT WAS AWESOME!!
We had a most gorgeous sunny day and fresh snow on Saturday with temperatures in the mid-20s. Usually that is way too cold for me to be out in it too long, but my ski clothes kept me quite warm. My fingertips were the only body part to get really cold and you tend to forget about it when you are zooming down the mountain and a high rate of speed. I never did get scared; my pit crew was really good about getting me on and off the lift and down the hill safely. We could go pro with how good we were.
For most of my runs I had Jimmy holding onto me as we weaved back and forth across the hill. My turns were good or in ski turns, carving! My last run on the hill was me being tethered to John. Tethering for those that don’t know gives you more control of the ski and you doing most of the work. I was doing pretty well until we starting going too fast on the last part of the hill. I heard John tell me to go left, I was going left, but apparently not far enough left and all I kept seeing were the trees getting closer. Now, two things could have happened here. I could have just laid it down and wipe out or just keep going right through the trees onto the ramp hill, but neither of these scenarios happened. Somehow John was able to save us from flying through the trees and wiping out. I kind of laid the ski sideways, but John was able to keep me upright with the tethers coming over the top of me. It was a nice save all caught on video.
Great Bear is hoping this to be an annual event and we hope to have more people participate in the years to come. We are welcome to come to Great Bear and ski at any time. They just ask that we call 48 hours in advance to make sure they have the right staff on hand to help us. KDLT
did a nice news story, Disabled Skiers Hit the Slopes
however they taped before I got there. Jim Kapperman is always an entertaining spokesman for us. Just listen to his excitement at the end!
I’m hoping to get out to Great Bear again before it closes. My pit crew has already offered to take me. There are only a couple of weeks left so we’ll see if I get out there before it closes. I’m excited that water skiing is our next adventure to try.
For those that are hesitant on trying an adaptive sport, please try it. Check with your local ski resorts and see if they have sit skis. It’s an opportunity not to be missed. You will be asking yourself why you didn’t try this sooner. It’s an addictive adrenaline rush like no other. If it not skiing, maybe it’s basketball or rugby, but get out there and try something and encourage others to do so too. I don’t think I will dread winter so much now that the option of skiing is available.
Not only was my pit crew awesome at getting me up and down the hill, they were most excellent at taking photos
I want to say thank you to everyone at Great Bear for putting on this event and a big thank you to my pit crew - John, Jimmy, and Rob. I can't wait to do it again!
© 2013 Kristina Allen