Gravity is a great equaliser

Nothing beats the feeling of laying out first tracks after an overnight snowfall.

The ssssss sound of a board or skis cutting through powder, sending little arcs of white into the air, quiets the mind and nourishes the spirit.

It places you in the moment, which is rare in an age where so many moments constantly swirl around us.

Skiing feels free.

***

Feeling free can sometimes be tough in a wheelchair.

But, from his sit-ski, my husband can access mountains cloaked in winter beauty, providing a special kind of peace.

It’s not often that he does not feel disabled; is not treated as though he is disabled.

Yet he’s not disabled when skiing.

On the mountain he is just another skier.  Everyone is out to have fun regardless of how they make their way down the hill, and recognise each other as kindred souls.

Skiers are more likely than the average person to have a friend with a spinal injury, as outdoor pursuits like skiing, mountain biking and climbing are pretty effective ways to paralyze yourself, and as a result, treat sit-skiers with respect, admiration and simple acceptance.

Skiing is one of the few sports that is not changed too dramatically by a thoracic level spinal injury.  A good skier and a good sit-skier are capable of skiing pretty similar terrain, and the disability is not as limiting as it would be for, say, biking where arms can never compete with legs.

Gravity is a great equaliser.

***

For our first date, if you can call it that, we went skiing.

Kev was so much better than me that most times we skied together, he messed around on tele-gear, snow blades or a snowboard, resulting in tremendous crashes to my immense pleasure.

But sometimes he would ski just to impress me.

Sixteen years later he skis in a bucket and young punks yell, “You are &*$^ing sick man” from the chairlift as he show-ponies his way down a bumps run, showing off for my benefit.

Some things never change.

Em

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2 comments

  1. Siobhan

    Awesome article Emma – thank you so much for sharing yours and Kev’s story! Interestingly, your description really captures why I love skiing too. I’m a new DWA associate from Melbourne and looking forward to becoming a Guide.

    Reply

    1. Emma White

      Thanks Siobhan,
      DWA is a great organisation. The Canadian equivalent (CADS) was very helpful and supportive when Kev re-learnt how to ski.
      Good luck with guiding, I hope you have a good Winter!

      Reply

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