Why Skiing is Truly Amazing

I have always loved to ski. Ever since I was a little girl, my family and I have gone to Telluride, Colorado practically every year to hit the slopes. When I was younger, skiing was simply a fun and exciting thing to do with my family. But now, since I have started volunteering at Double H Ranch’s Winter Adaptive Sports Program, I have a deeper appreciation for the sport. As a part of this program, I help teach children with special needs how to ski. My students have shown me that truly anyone can enjoy skiing, regardless of how able-bodied one may or may not be. 

Prior to my engagement with this program, I was aware of similar organizations that allow special-needs people to experience sports such as the Special Olympics. However, when I started seeing what programs like these do from a first-hand perspective, I realized just how amazing this work is. 

I have learned that there are so many ways to teach anyone how to ski, regardless of one’s needs. For instance, last week I was teaching a blind and partially deaf teenager to ski. To communicate on the slope, we used remote control vibrators that were attached to his wrists. Although he couldn’t speak to me, it was obvious that he was enjoying himself. 

Teaching this boy was hard. Using a completely new type of communication to instruct him which way to turn was challenging and slightly daunting. However, it was well worth it. Additionally, it was amazing to watch him map out the hill in his mind. He was completely aware of what was going on around him. Especially because I am interested in psychology, I was amazed as I watched him compensate for his disabilities. 

Volunteering at Double H Ranch has been one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences I have had at Skidmore so far. In the future, I really hope that Skidmore students continue volunteering for this program and making these exceptional kids’ days. Every time I volunteer, I find myself loving every minute of my time with my students. I’m sad that the skiing season ended last weekend for the program. However, I’m so excited to hopefully be able to volunteer again next year and to continue seeing that, with the right equipment and attention, anyone can enjoy skiing no matter who they are!