Disability Snowsport UK
Disability Snowsport is the UK’s leading snow sports charity teaching skiing to disabled people both at UK indoor centres and on holidays abroad. DSUK make the health and social benefits of snow sports and the unique exhilaration thrill that accompanies skiing available to anyone with a disability no matter what sort of health need they have or how severe it is. Whilst there is a team of paid staff there is an even bigger team of passionate volunteers like myself who help out at local UK ski centres, social ski groups and on adaptive ski holidays.
Helping people with healthcare needs to experience the same thing you and I do is something I am deeply passionate about. There is no such thing as disability, only ability. I strongly believe that every ski school should have an adaptive instructor on its team. Unless you have an adaptive instructor on your team you cannot be an inclusive ski school, you can only be an exclusive ski school and in being an exclusive ski school you are being discriminatory. Enough said.
Out of my three friends who are either a ski school manager or ski school director only one offers adaptive lessons. One has an adaptive instructor on their team but doesn’t offer adaptive lessons, one has neither an adaptive instructor nor offers adaptive lessons and the third who does offer adaptive lessons doesn’t have an adaptive instructor and brings one in from another ski school when needed.
Disability Snowsport UK run monthly social ski sessions at local indoor slopes across the country. I volunteer with the Castleford group which meets the fourth Sunday of the month. Each adaptive skier has two buddies with them. Not only does it give people with a disability the chance to ski but we all go for coffee afterwards and the whole thing is very sociable.
The skills you use when skiing with an adaptive skier are totally different to those you use when skiing with a standard skier. First of all there are the ropes, harnesses, carabiner clips and quick release mechanisms to get used to. Then there is the fact that a sit ski works by putting weight on the inside to turn as opposed to the outside as in the case of a normal skier. So when you want the sit ski to turn left you put weight on the left and when you want it to turn right you put weight on the right. Brain confused.com ! When it all goes wrong, just ditch your skier into the snow. They’ll soon stop. Abruptly.
I will be training as an adaptive instructor with the British Association of Snowsports Instructors later this year. My goal is to be BASI Adaptive Level 3 ISTD (the highest adaptive qualification in the BASI system) and to become a BASI adaptive examiner.
For more about Disability Snowsports UK go to their website