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.

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Thanksgiving and the Hunt for Snow

tremblant_village_2013

photo credit: NK Stevenson

In preparation for the October 17- 20, 2013 ski show, I took a little ride out to the hills this week-end.  Soggy (still in rain boots, not ski boots) and a buck hiding in the trees near the base. No snow.

Fingers crossed, things will look a little different come December. Maybe like this photo I shot at Mt. Tremblant in March. Yes, I could have posted the grey, rainy pic I took while standing in a mud puddle yesterday, but why not dream a little?

Thanksgiving is certainly the perfect time for it.  Time with family inevitably leads to reflection and long week-ends lend themselves to daydreams.

A little history: This ski thing all started when my father put a 4-year-old weebly-wobbly little me on skis and somehow got us both to the top of the bunny hill and back down. Ah, love.

Things progressed to my brother and I taking the lift together. Sigh, what memories!  Like the time he encouraged me to stick my tongue on the frozen steel safety bar as we approached the top of the hill.  (Don’t do this. Ever. But in case you have an older brother who talks you into foolishness: Cup your hands and breathe hard.  If you’re lucky, the warmth of your breath will melt the frozen water sticking your tongue to the metal.)

We then advanced to balancing our 18-inch height difference on the t-bar. After mastering that bit of survival training, a lifelong love of the outdoors was born. Which brings me to this season and the future. I’ve been blessed with years of sunny days, fluffy snow and the utter joy and freedom of flying down the hill. It’s time to step up my game and give back.

This season I am challenging myself to complete the instructor’s training program and put those skills to good use.  Now we just need some snow.

And you? Avid fan? Team captain? How do you give back to the sports you love?