Trevor asked if I wanted to hit the park with him, he was hitting the jumps and wanted to keep sessioning them. I was eager to oblige, in an attempt to exercise and retain skills from my younger days. Trevor went first with complete confidence, hitting both cheese wedge jump take offs with authority and determination. Then I went, and Scott brought up the caboose, rolling the knuckles and not hitting the actual jumps.
Next lap I dropped in right on Trevor’s heels, following close enough behind him so that we were both in the air at the same time. For those unfamiliar with this practice, it’s what we call ‘train-ing’ – similar to multiple train cars in a row following a similar path, we were in the air taking the same trajectory. Scott, he was inspired to leave the ground and hit the first jump, skidding to a stop with the biggest grin on his face. Needless to say excitement and enthusiasm was at an all time high.
The next hour or so we lapped a mid-mountain chair, going from the top of Winter Park Resort down a cat track, playing in the moguls, onto a wide and fast trail, and hitting the terrain park before jumping back on the lift. Scott’s confidence and stoke grew with every run. For his 20th day on a mono-ski, he was shredding hard.
In skiing we say that the best way to get better, is to ski with someone better than you. Trying to keep up, to hit the same lines, identify the same transitions and places to gain or scrub speed, it’s challenging and increases your skill, your confidence, and your ‘fun’ level. That’s exactly what was happening every time we took a lap.
Next, we headed over to the front side of the mountain, where Allison was lapping the Gemini chair with some instructors and other High Fives Athletes. On this part of the mountain the overall pace was slower, the pitch of the trail was lower, and there were less people riding down the snow next to us. Her skill set was still at an early stage, in the process of being developed. Falling happens at this point in ones journey as a snow-sports participant, and it happens often. Adaptive athletes are not afforded the same ability to ‘pizza’ the entire mountain, they have to learn advanced techniques like linking turns. It’s not an easy task for a first timer when using two planks, and looks even more difficult sitting on one, not able to control every muscle in your body.