Know the Code

Lynn’s comment to 1 Boarder 5 Questions reminded me to write about the code. There’s nothing secret about this code. The more people who are familiar with it, the better. The Alpine Responsibility Code lists ten points that are the golden rules of life on the slopes. Skiers and boarders are obligated to ski or ride in a controlled, responsible manner. We all share the responsibility, so best to take a look and refresh you memory before the season starts.

source: Canadian Ski Patrol

source: Canadian Ski Patrol

This code is in effect across Canada (please note, Quebec has its own code). To learn more about the codes, safety and rescue, visit the Canadian Ski Patrol website.

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Ski Inspiration #3: Training with Heart

photo credit: Droid Gingerbread

photo credit: Droid Gingerbread

Patty cake, patty cake may be just what’s needed. The game in which you clap your own and your partner’s hands requires eye contact or at least eyes on your partner’s hands. On the ski hill, keeping the game going by skiing backwards to face your student means the student needs to look up enough to see your hands. Looking up means looking forward and not looking down at the ground, which is helpful when going down a hill. That’s how a round of patty cake helped a little girl ski all the way to the bottom of the hill, which is why she raised her arms in victory like she won Olympic gold.

You need to think outside the box teaching kids. And with these kids, as it should be with all kids, the focus is on ability: the ability to move freely, learn, accomplish, participate, make friends, and do what other kids do. Having the opportunity to shine and be a part of something, not sit on the sidelines or watch out the window.

Every Track 3 volunteer says the same thing: once you start, it’s hard to walk away. I can see that. To quote Amy Bloom, “In the right hands, everything that you give, you get.” Patty cake and victory signs sound pretty good to me.

*On-hill training begins in January.  Instructor to student ratio is 1:1 or 2:1 and teaching methods are based on CSIA and CASI. Volunteers always needed.  Contact Ontario Track 3 Ski Association for the Disabled.

Ski Inspiration #1: Flying with Track 3

Snowflake

photo credit: Kelly Sikkema

I don’t need to be inspired to ski, but I can certainly be inspired to be a better person, reach higher, do more. Last weekend I had a taste of all three.

Friday night Track 3 hosted their annual Winterlude Carnival fundraiser at the Steam Whistle Brewery. Track 3 is a non-profit charitable organization that teaches children and youth with disabilities to downhill ski and snowboard. Giving disabled youth the freedom to fly is how their school program is described.

Over the course of the season, 450 volunteers get 200 kids outside to play in the snow and experience what many of us take for granted. There are 150 mentally and physically disabled children on the wait list. Once you add up the specialized equipment, travel costs and coaching, it costs approximately $1650 to get one child on the hill, hence the fundraiser.

Children waiting for the freedom to fly? Let’s help cut the wait list. How?

If nothing else, tell one friend about Track 3, and that friend may tell one friend and so on and so on. You may have someone in your midst who could make the difference between a name on a list and a child on the snow.