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Old 02-04-2020, 10:43 PM
Veronica Veronica is offline
MS Whisperer
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Columbia County, NY
Posts: 270

So, I participated in the Can Do MS event at Loon Mountain, New Hampshire this weekend. The event, Ski for MS, was a combination of vertical challenge, fun ski race, and opportunities for MSers to try out ski equipment, or in my case, to ski a new mountain with an adaptive instructor working with me.

What a hoot it was! The vertical challenge was really out of my league, and I wanted to work with the coaches on bumping up my abilities, so I also opted not to participate in the race. Did that during my 4 tracking years, and really enjoyed it, but wanted/needed some concentrated time for training.

Well... my coach, Peter, was probably one of the top 3 instructors that I have ever worked with. He trained me on all intermediate runs that were freaking me out by tethering me ( just for speed control) which gave me confidence I wouldn’t plow into a tree or do a straight run down the slope if I lost control...and he called out my turns for me. The same way a visually impaired skier is guided down the hill. I just did what he said to need for me to figure it out. All he said on a run was “Turn...hold..hold...hold ( as I traversed the hill). turn...hold.hold...turn.....” and on and on. As I gained some confidence and he saw I was edging well, he made the turns quicker. “turn..h o l d ..Turn....”. It kept me from over analyzing my turns, and taught me how to judge my terrain as I was moving thru it. And I trusted him, and just wasn’t very nervous at all, as I knew he was well skilled in this.

It was just so much fun! We were a good team, and he was so close behind me that I really felt we were in this together. I did those challenging blue trails quite well, if I do say so myself! Yes, I had a moment or two, when I picked up more speed than I wanted to, and scared the heck out of myself, but he reminded me to lean into my turn more, and that got things back under control. When I called out that I needed a break, it was to let the adrenaline rush calm down! So thrilling!

So that was the ski event of Ski for MS, and then we headed inside for the awards party..... great group of skiers of all abilities, and just a happy time. And my thrill for that part of the event, was that I got to spend some time with Tyler Hamilton, as he has gotten himself very involved in Can Do MS, which I am sure several of you know. Well, I am such a Tour de France geek, that I HAD to chat with him, and get my photo with him. After we had a fun chat, and we had the photo taken side by side, I told him I needed to give him a kiss, did so on his cheek ( camera clicking) and then he turned and gave me a big smooch right on the lips ( of course, camera still clicking!). Such goofy fun! I ended the evening totally exhausted but so satisfied with my skiing.... and lip locking with Tyler .... (wink, wink)

Now, the next day my friend and her family and I went on to a neighboring mountain, Bretton Woods. My friend is also an MSer, and uses a sitski. She introduced me to Bretton last year, and we all love the wide, well groomed trails and the adaptive program there.

Well, my instructor for the day, Hans, had been volunteering in the adaptive program for 20 years and really knew the ski bike, but also how to get me more confident in my abilities.

I told him I was worked hard the day before and just wanted a fun day of all greens...some easy peasy runs. He didn’t need to call my turns, but did so when we had to work on headwalls (drop down short steep sections usually at the start or end of a trail) of some new beginner trails. In the afternoon we ended up on more new trails when one of the lifts we wanted to take was closed and we had to improvise.

Of course, Nervous Nellie here constantly was asking what color the trail was and he kept telling me there were no worries, “ALL the trails over here are green ( beginner..).”

So I did them, thinking they were a little more challenging, but never did I think anything else. Well.... we got back at the end of the day and he chuckled when he told me he LIED to me...they were all intermediate (blue) trails.... I got up from the bench and gave HIM a big kiss and hug, and told him I was SO GLAD he didn’t tell me out there.

So I can proudly say I am now a solid intermediate level skier. Never would have gotten here without my ski bike, and these phenomenal volunteer adaptive instructors....

So now, apart from all this riotous fun, I learned how much I need to continue working on my core as my right turns suffer from my ride side weakness. It makes getting my weight over the outside of the ski really challenging, and this is where I will feel fatigue creeping in first. Gonna give it my all with the rowing and some other core exercises and see what happens... stay tuned!
Be thankful. Dream Big. Never Give Up.
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