In that split second, after the annoying alarm jingle goes off , when my brain wakes up and tries to figure out – where am I? What day is it? What am I doing? My eyes ping open, it’s Ski Wednesday! ?
Back to the alarm jingle, it’s like the sound of an ice cream van jingle. But the difference is that when I hear an ice cream van it brings with it happy childhood memories of playing with friends out on the street, but we associate the sound of an alarm with having to wake up early, from usually an enjoyed and needed sleep. Funny how the mind works. At University I had Pink’s song Trouble set as my alarm, now, as much as I love Pink, I dislike that song.
Anyways, back to ski Wednesday.
Sun shining through the curtains was an extra mood booster this morning, followed by an hour of my healthy morning routine. My ‘Pan mae’r haul yn gwenu’ (when the sun is shining) Spotify playlist playing in the car, and off I went for my weekly 30 mins drive to Pembrey Country Park
I started skiing a year back, after my move back West. I had no job, and was determined to keep active, like I had been whilst living in Cardiff. We’re very lucky in Carmarthenshire to have Janine Jenkins as an Occupational therapist. She doesn’t just look at equipment to aid a disabled person live comfortably at home with their impairment, she has a much wider view and thinks of a disabled persons wellbeing and lifestyle as a whole. Janine told me about Ski4All Wales, and this was the kick start to my life back West.
How do I ski?
There are three options to how a wheelchair user can ski with ski4all Wales. When I started, I used a sitski, I would sit in it and was taken down with the instructor. Having the need for speed, I did enjoy the ride, but for me it was only a ride and I knew I had more to offer. Next option to try was the same sitski but using outriggers, a much more demanding activity, that worked my core muscles, which was much needed. As much as I enjoyed the challenge of trying to improve, I still had this niggling feeling that I wasn’t doing it on my own, the instructor behind me was doing most of the work.
But then the Tessier arrived, and my love for adaptive skiing stepped up a gear.
This fab equipment enables me to take control, with little help. Since my diagnosis, I’ve gradually been losing control of doing things independently, as much as I fought against this it became something that I had to accept. But the Tessier keeps my belief alive, that I’m not on a slippery slope of deterioration. It’s possible to change direction, step back up the ability ladder. I can’t ask for better motivation.
Every week I gain confidence using this machine, with the hope I’ll be ready for the red slope in Verbier next year ?
Why do I Ski?
To put it simply, ski club fuels my positivity. I’m a positive person, but only because I work at it, I make sure that I do things that fuel this energy, such as meditation, exercise and ski club is definitely a weekly fix.
Today, like every Wednesday, I wheeled out of the lift and was greeted by the enthusiastic staff full of joy and laughter. Everyone has their own personal issues, that’s life, but at the ski club all worries are forgotten for a morning and we all just enjoy on the slope.
The club is run by amazing volunteers, who are ready to support with any of your needs. As they are either neuro physios or rehab coaches, I often turn to them for advice about any issue regarding muscle strengthening, and knowing that I have that support easily available and their encouragement, makes living with an impairment that little bit easier.
It doesn’t matter which instructor skis with me, I don’t have a favourite as it would be a tough job picking out of an equally great bunch. Mike skied with me today, who gave me a lovely rendition of a Kermit the frog tune ?
It was great to see so many of the new staff and volunteers training to use the adaptive equipment, I guess everyone wants a piece of the buzz of Ski club, and I don’t blame them! Ski Club feels like family.