If you ask Nick what his favorite thing to do in the winter is, odds are he is going to reply “skiing.” Nick was able to enjoy several ski lessons this year, and had his last lesson for the season on a chilly Thursday morning at the end of March.
Nick’s favorite parts of his ski lessons are speeding through the trees and going as fast as he can down the slopes!
Nick has been going to Eldora Mountain Ski Resort for over 10 years and taking adaptive ski lessons with volunteers who have decades of experience skiing. The volunteers work with Ignite Adaptive Sports.
Nick feels safe and secure with these volunteers, and many of them come back every year. Nick enjoys seeing volunteers he’s known for years, and he loves when they remember how much he likes to go fast!
This is another way that Nick shows that people with disabilities are able to do all the same things as a typically abled person, it just might look a little different! There are many differently abled people just like Nick who love the rush of adrenaline from skiing down a snowy mountain.
Rather than standing to ski, Nick uses what is called a sit ski or bi ski. A bi ski is used by people who need to ski in a sitting position. The bi ski is a molded fiberglass bucket seat attached to two specially designed skis. The bucket seat is designed so that it can be lifted up to get Nick on to the ski lift!
Ignite’s volunteers get special training to help them assist people of all ability levels to learn to ski. People who are blind ski differently than someone like Nick who uses a bi ski and the volunteers know exactly the best ways to assist each student.
This year skiing with Ignite was even more unique. Because of COVID-19 Ignite took many proactive measures to make sure everyone who came up to ski would be as safe as possible. This included having all students fill out a detailed COVID questionnaire prior to coming to Eldora and making sure everyone was using facial coverings. The facilities and equipment were rigorously sanitized between skiers. Normally Ignite’s building is full of excited students waiting to get out on the mountain, but this year they also limited each side of their building to one student per morning or afternoon ski lesson.
Ignite understands how important it is for people with different abilities to have the same opportunities as typically abled people. Just like Awesome in Action, Ignite works to support inclusion of people of all ability levels.
This is just one more example of how Nick and Awesome in Action are working to spark a shift in how people view abilities! Nick wants people to be aware that organizations like Ignite exist for people who have different abilities.
Nick wants to thank Ignite Adaptive Sports and all the volunteers for another AWESOME season of skiing at Eldora!
See you on the mountain next year!
To learn more about participating or volunteering with Ignite check out their website: https://igniteadaptivesports.org/
For over 15 years, this charismatic individual has been a part of Nick’s recreational endeavors. Renee Lee is the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist at Adaptive Recreation Opportunities in Fort Collins, a multi-faceted role that she fulfills with ease. Whether it be snow skiing, canoeing, or white water rafting, Renee works behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly and all who are participating have a great time. She has been a bus driver and staff trainer, as well as a friend and advocate for many people who participate in A.R.O. When all is well, Renee never hesitates to jump in and take part in an adventure. Over the years, she has shared many wild times with Nick; camping, white water rafting, and canoeing.
Nick describes Renee as exciting, happy, and brave. She has a big heart, and a sharp mind.
Renee has included Nick in a very special A.R.O event in February; inviting him to speak at the 20th Anniversary celebration at the Senior Center. Nick is honored to be chosen to be included in such a special event. Thank you for all you do, Renee. We are happy to recognize you as an Awesome Advocate and friend. Nick canoeing with A.R.O volunteer, Judy Tessier