Families‎ > ‎

Adaptive Skiing

posted Mar 28, 2013, 1:08 AM by Craig Miller
Shelley Parker
As a family we have always gone skiing on Mt Ruapehu and when Fletch joined our family 7 years ago he has always been involved, making snowmen and tobogganing but as always, he was keen to ski just like his big brother and sister. Dad is a keen skier and felt that he could spend some time with Fletch teaching him to ski. So for the last two years he has put Fletch between his legs and skied down Happy Valley. Fletch LOVED it but he wouldn't hold his own weight, so while he got the sensation and thrill of heading down the mountain, he could only manage a couple of runs before tiring. Then it was back to the café to watch the rest of the skiers. It also meant that we couldn't spend time altogether on the slopes as one of us had to look after him in the cold for long periods of time.

While I was at a GSE meeting with his school last year, I mentioned to the hysiotherapist that we were heading to the mountain and she asked if I had heard of the adaptive ski program and gave me the details. I felt that Fletch was still too young that year to head off with a stranger and as the session was for two hours I thought he would tire too much to cope. However this year after facing another year of frustration of not being able to get Fletch to bear his own weight and spending all our time in the café watching the others, I headed to the office of the adaptive ski program on the off chance he could make a lesson.

We met with Travis who is about the coolest person that Fletch has ever met. His first words to me were "Gravity shows no discrimination, this boy will be skiing by the end of the day" and he showed us his ‘magic trick’. Two g-clips, a small piece of bungee cord attached to the front of his skis to stop him crossing his skis or his legs going too wide and a long strap threaded through to allow Travis to guide him and keep on track and within minutes Fletch was off down the slope, bearing his own weight, upright, arms out ‘like an aeroplane’ just like Travis told him to and my boy was skiing! Fletch came back with the BIGGEST smile on his face and so proud of what he achieved, having made firm friends with Travis and with lots of photos as well.
They managed about 6 runs and Travis felt that it was best to leave Fletch feeling happy, not too tired and to keep him wanting more so we didn’t complete the two hours but it was well worth the time and money.
The adaptive ski lesson was $75 for a 2 hour lesson, beginner lift pass and rentals (ski, boots, poles etc although you can provide your own). It was well worth it for Fletch and in the future it will give us the ability to ski as a family and also gives us some time on the slopes with his siblings while he is at his lesson. We were in luck this year that they had a free space on the day but they do recommend booking in advance. It is available at both sides of the mountain.

Have a look at the website for lots of information in relation to the Adaptive ski program and membership options.

Adaptive Learning Centre
Whakapapa Ski Area
Mt Ruapehu
Ph: 07 892 4000, ext 7848 Fax: 07 892 3732
Email: adaptive.whakapapa@mtruapehu.com

Turoa Ski Area
Mt Ruapehu
Ph: 06 385 8456, ext 5611 Fax: 06 385 8992
Email: adaptive.turoa@mtruapehu.com