My name is Emily Suchy, and I’m a ParaNordic Sit-Skier on the Revelstoke Nordic Team. I was diagnosed with Perthes in my right hip when I was about 7, and then in my left hip when I was 11. Basically the blood flow to the head of the femur gets cut off and the bone wears down. Weight-bearing, like walking around a lot, standing skiing, running; any kind of sport where you’re putting a lot of pressure on the hips isn’t an option. My right leg has healed up pretty well, it only gets sore once in a while. The left leg is still not in great condition and probably won’t heal as well as the right, since I don’t have a whole lot of growing left in me.
I’m now 15 and started Nordic skiing last year, after having gone to Canmore and trying out a sit ski there. There was a group of people with a bunch of skis, that anyone could try out. We did and I was immediately drawn to the sport. My family and I have always been pretty active but it’s definitely harder in the winter.
They brought in snow and covered the streets for this festival, it was pretty cool. The one in the middle is Marc Ardnez, a national team member. Canmore, 2010. Photo by Debbie Koerber.
The next year, we were on our way to Canmore again, this time to learn all about Nordic skiing in a chair, and hopefully to come home with my own sit ski. I remember the feeling in the car on the way there, excited and full of questions and then on the way back the way my head was going to explode with information. I got to meet so many important and experienced people in the skiing world, as well as people who had never Para-skied before, like me. There was a blind person who told me about what they think when they hear the word green; a double arm amputee who told us about trying to change his daughters diaper with arm prosthetics. These people were really inspiring and they really opened my eyes to a whole other world. I could go on forever about this experience!
I learned a lot from Colette, national team member and six-time Paralympian. Canmore, 2011, photo taken by Debbie Koerber.
This is the whole camp in Canmore, 2011. Photo by Debbie.
Now, a year later, I have my own custom made sit ski from help of a lot of community members, and of course Live it! Love it!. Debbie Koerber, my dad and myself worked together with Trent Kappler to design and weld the frame for the ski I have now. We then took it to Trevor Kehler who used his creativity with seat belts to make me a seat. There was definitely a lot of help and support from local Revelstokians, as well as Stussi’s Ski Shop in Vernon who donated my first pair of skis. I definitely would not be doing this without the help of Debbie Koerber, who did, and does so much work to get me to races and find funding for equipment, not to mention frequently waxing my skis!
The BC Winter Games one of the bigger races I’ve gone to, which was so, so much fun. I met a lot of people and definitely noticed how friendly and supportive they were.
The Revelstoke Team posing on the podium, BC Winter Games, 2011/2012 season. Photo by Debbie Koerber.
For this year’s goal, Debbie, my coaches Andrei and Matt, and I plan on going to Nationals. Anyone can go to nationals, you don’t have to qualify. Unfortunately, there’s not many people in ParaNordic skiing. In all of Canada, there’s about 5-10 female sit skiers, Colette Bourgonje being top on the list for Canada. Her times set the bar fairly high, and if all goes well and she’s back from Europe in time, I hope to race her at Nationals. It will tell me how close I am to making the development squad, and how close I am, in comparison to the rest of the world.
The race is going to be in Whistler for 9 days and I have 4 events all together. Debbie Koerber and I sent a request to the Live it! Love it! board for some help with accommodation, travel, registration, and food costs. Turns out the Live it! Love it! Foundation would be really glad to help me out at Nationals this year. Thank you so much, I’m so thankful for the support and happy attitudes, it’s great!
My best friend Tayla and I. ^^
^^ Starting with the midgets in Larch Hills.
^^ Canmore camp 2012/2013 season.
This is Debbie Koerber and I in Canmore. Debbie has done so much for me, I could never thank her enough!
^^ This was in Larch hills, I raced in the midgets category, who are 12-13 years old. 4th Place 2012/2013 season.
The Revelstoke team in Sovereign Lake, 2012/13 season. ^^
And for now, I’ll keep training and racing with the team, about 5 or 6 days a week. I love having a sport to push myself in and to show my competitive side, it’s a great way to spend my winters.
Thank-you Live it! Love it! I’m looking forward to updating you on how Nationals went!