Thrill of the Hill

Sit-skiing with ADDS volunteers at Mansfield Ski Resort.

I am in no way athletic and have little interest in sports. That said, I do like a thrill. I’ve always loved rollercoasters, and I jumped at the chance to skydive and bungee jump while travelling in New Zealand.

I learned to sail independently at Easter Seals Camp. It quickly became my favourite activity, and I’d be out on the water as often as possible while at camp each summer. I loved the freedom and the exhilarating feeling as the sails caught the wind and the boat gained speed­­––leaning to one side, almost tipping but never capsizing. Sailing is probably the closest I’ve come to participating in sports.

Fast-forward about 18 years. It’s October 2016, and I’m dreading the coming winter. I hate winter. The cold makes my muscles stiff and sore. The snow and ice make it challenging, and sometimes dangerous, to walk around with my canes; but even more challenging to get around in my wheelchair. So, not wanting to spend yet another winter pissed off and isolated, I joined the Adult Disabled Downhill Ski Club (ADDS) at Mansfield Ski Resort, through CADS Ontario. I thought it might improve my relationship with snow.

It turns out weaving down a hill in a sit-ski feels similar to catching the wind in a sailboat and is just as thrilling. I enjoy skiing much more than I thought I would. Yes, I love the thrill, but I also like the challenge of learning new skills. I often don’t even mind falling on my face, because it means I’m progressing and becoming a more independent skier.

I’ve also made new friends through ADDS. In many ways, these new relationships are the best thing to come from me joining the group. Not only do they make ski days more enjoyable, but they also extend beyond the ski season and improve my life overall.

I now have a slightly better relationship with snow.