Sask. group helps people with disabilities hit the slopes to experience 'thrill and the joy' of skiing
Saskatchewan Adaptive Ski Snow Club holding annual adaptive skiing day on Sunday
A group in Saskatchewan is helping people with disabilities get involved in a popular winter activity — skiing.
"Things that we take for granted as able-bodied people are moving fast, our centre of gravity and being able to carve on a set of skis," Jaimie Smith-Windsor, president and co-founder of the Saskatchewan Adaptive Ski Snow Club, told CBC Radio's Saskatchewan Weekend.
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"When you see your child, or any child who has a disability, discover that they too can do that, it's an awesome feeling," she said.
Smith-Windsor has a daughter with cerebral palsy, which is one of the reasons she helped form the adaptive skiing club.
She was having a tough time finding physical activities for her daughter to participate in, until she came across an advertisement for adaptive skiing at at Wapiti Valley ski hill, which is about 50 kilometres north of Melfort, Sask.
The ad caught her attention and she took the whole family out for a day on the slopes, while introducing her daughter to adaptive skiing — a form of skiing for people with disabilities.
"Some instructors took our daughter [skiing] for the first time and we were hooked," she said. "It's really awesome to see that kind of movement happening, that kind of thrill and the joy that comes out of it."
Smith-Windsor and her husband then decided to become instructors as a way to help others enjoy adaptive skiing. That marked the beginning of SASSC.
"We met some other parents who were also exploring adaptive skiing with their kids and we decided to form a club," she said.
SASSC offers people with physical, developmental and cognitive disabilities the chance to get involved in para-alpine and adaptive alpine skiing in Saskatchewan.
Since getting involved with adaptive skiing, Smith-Windsor says her daughter's confidence has increased.
"It's just an incredible thing, to see how she believes in herself that she can do these things," she said.
Smith-Windsor believes physical activity should be an important part of every child's life and wants adaptive physical activities to become regularly available.
The club is holding its adaptive skiing day at Table Mountain, near North Battleford, on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. CST.
Smith-Windsor says the event brings people together from across the province who have disabilities and want to try adaptive skiing.
SASSC is also currently in need of ski instructors, as well as volunteers to help with non-skiing activities.
With files from Saskatchewan Weekend