Pauline Hunt of Revelstoke BC felt the wind in her face as she slid down Whistlers slopes in a sit ski over the Christmas Holidays for the first time since her diagnosis of ALS. Read her account of the experience and stay tuned as Paulines ski journey continues!
The temperature dips to a cool minus five degrees and the snow has begun to fall. Big, fat, fluffy flakes that mean one thing to the diehard skier: powder! This scenario brings on a Pavlovian-type response to most snow enthusiasts; the urge to get out on the mountain and shred. This has been my way of life for over 20 years; so, when faced with my diminishing muscle strength due to ALS, I was saddened to find out my trusty legs would not take me down the mountain anymore.
After being truly inspired by the new film, Freedom Chair, about sit-skier Josh Dueck, I began to check out my options and found a growing number of ski areas offering adaptive skiing. I happened to be in Whistler over Christmas holidays so I gave sit-skiing a try. The Live It – Love It Foundation set up and funded my lesson day, which was amazing.
Well… Josh makes it look pretty easy. I quickly learned that the only way to control your speed on a sit-ski is to carve or glide a turn. No snow-plowing, no easing into things. Luckily I had my two charming and very helpful instructors, Jason and Thomas, to hold me up and slow me down. I managed a few good turns on each run and it was fun to get back out there with a cool wind on my face. As it was during the busy Christmas season, the bunny hill was crowded and I probably freaked many of the beginners out as I zoomed around them doing big GS turns. It will probably take 2-3 more lesson days before anyone will set me loose on the sit-ski but I now have something new to work towards.