I remember the first time I ever skied. It was with the local adapted program in an old beat up Mogul Master with a bolted on ski. Even though there were six volunteers with me and we were on the bunniest of bunny hills, I was terrified. I had never been way out in the middle of nowhere on snow before, I didn't know where I was and I had no idea how to move the ski. I'm pretty sure the only words I said the entire time were "DON'T LET GO!!". Every INCH of movement down the almost nonexistent fall line made me certain I was going to die. The day wasn't a total wash though.. I was wearing a really cool hat.
What I remember most from that day is the fact that I was able to do something I had never ever thought possible, and that one hour around the bend on Huckleberry Patch was the beginning of a whole new way of life.
I skied a few times a month over the next 2 years, all really short sessions, with DREAM, using the DREAM gear. It was a struggle. Program equipment is essentially one size fits none. It's set up for the ease and convenience of program providers and so as many people as possible can be served. That lack of customization gets a lot of people on the hill, but it doesn't necessarily work for the skiers themselves.
Then EVERYTHING changed. Through my job as Associate Editor of Active Living Magazine I lucked into a monoski of my own. It was huge but it was mine and I tweaked it so it fit as well as possible. I also met up with an adapted ski instructor who just happened to be a monoskier. hhmmmmm.. a new ski, a monoskiing ski instructor, I couldn't pass up the opportunity so I bought a pass and skied 9 days that winter in a 40 pound Shadow that was bigger than me ☺
The next year I shelled out the THREE GRAND for a custom ski and was insanely proud of my oh-so-awesome 26 days on the hill.
That was in 2002. Since then, I've morphed from a sidewalk rolling, path taking city girl to a 50 - 70 days a year raving ski lunatic addicted to all Warren Miller ski porn videos in existence. I have a perfectly fitted (and appropriately duct taped) Revolution Pro-Comp ski, modified (by me) Superlite outriggers, and an envy enducing selection of skis from a tiny little K2 twin tip to a fully custom Montana Ski Company double rocker all mountain ski that was specifically designed for me. The final pieces to the puzzle are my ridiculously cool blingy goggles and a group of friends that love to ski as much as I do - who don't mind avoiding the cliffs and jumps every now and then.
Having my own equipment and instruction from a qualified teacher made all the difference. I went from needing everyone they could send to falling asleep on the chair in the sun, kicking it in the Bowl and getting MILES of deep powdery fresh tracks on Hellfire more than once. Proper gear + great friends + a killer hill = AWESOME!!!
Obviously, you can't be a skier and not share the awesomeness of it. It's impossible. When you can share it with someone who never thought they'd get the chance to try it, the way everyone else does it, not sent to the "program" but as a paying, yes I'm saying it - regular - customer, it's one of the greatest things you can imagine. Now that I'm in a position to help make that happen, I am. In January 2015, with the support of my sponsors and the Unlimbited trailer from Team Patriot (where I volunteer) Unlimbited Snowsports Club was born and the first scholarship awarded.
In November 2015, I was able to purchase a Tessier Dual Ski from France for $6000, with on-the-fly adjustible shock system, articulating base, dual hydraulic lifts and a full set of bars and tethers, as well as a pair of new outriggers so now anyone who can fit in the bucket can ski.