Poley Mountain offers better access to skiers with disabilities

Access to Poley Mountain's new facility is now a lot easier for people with physical disabilities, who also want to enjoy the skill hill.

New building provides better access for people with physical disabilities

Lori Ravn and her 10-year-old son, Eric love to ski at Poley Mountain. The new lodge makes access for those with physical disabilities much easier. 1:38

Access to Poley Mountain's new facility is now a lot easier for people with physical disabilities, who also want to enjoy the skill hill.

The new lodge, which replaced the one destroyed by fire in 2014, was built with almost everything on one level.

It has only been open for a few weeks, but the new building is already proving popular with skiers, such as Jodi Ravn and her 10-year-old son, Eric.

Eric lives with an extremely rare genetic mutation that affects the calcium channels in his body.

He has had three strokes and each have affected his ability to walk, talk and swallow. He uses a wheelchair to get around. 

But this does not stop Eric, in a special ski chair and his family from hitting the slopes.

Jodi Ravn and her son, Eric are enjoying the new lodge at Poley Mountain, which has made access to easier for those with physical disabilities. (Redmond Shannon/CBC)
"We've been skiing together for five years and it's our happy place. He loves motion and so do I. He loves speed and I love speed," said Ravn.

"And we get up on the hill and it's a nice way for us to be outside, enjoying the winter."

But accessibility to the former lodge at Poley Mountain was difficult said Ravn, an executive member of South East Fundy chapter of the Canadian Association of Disabled Skiers.

"One of the biggest challenges for all families, regardless of whether they had someone with mobility issues or not, was always the washroom location. It was either downstairs or upstairs," said Ravn.

"The new lodge now has wide ramps that lead you right up to those doors that fold right open and you can use the buttons for the automated door. It's really convenient."

Ravn says the flooring is nice and smooth.

"It's not carpet so it makes rolling really easy on mobility devices," Ravn said.

Jim Bowland, a ski instructor at Poley Mountain and New Brunswick's technical co-ordinator for the Canadian Association of Disabled Skiers, works with a group that incudes 25 disabled skiers and instructors at Poley Mountain.

He says easier access may encourage more people with disabilities to give the sport a try.

"We have had some inquiries from new clients, new students [with disabilities] that are new this year," he said.

Poley Mountain has a Canadian Association of Disabled Skiers program with equipment already in place. It provides discounts to disabled skiers.

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