Saturday, June 18, 2011

9th Anniversary

Our trip started off very hectic. It was just one thing after another impeding our progress to Mammoth Mountain to celebrate our 9 year anniversary. We endured the 6 hour trip, with several complications and arrived at our destination. Juniper Springs Lodge was an indulgent, luxury suite at the center of Mammoth Lakes with a slopeside lift to the mountain during the winter season. We found their accommodations outstanding but lacking a roll in shower. This was remedied the next morning when the management figured out we were in the wrong room. 

That morning we prepared to get on the slopes and met up with Zachary Irgish and Larry Holmes from Disabled Sportsof the Eastern Sierra (DSES). I always have a careful mindset whenever we face transfers, wheelchair to bi-ski and bi-ski to wheelchair. Bi-ski to lift and lift to bi-ski to the mountain trails called Broadway. This is where trust and faith intersect. With years of whitewater rafting experience, I learned that most accidents happened on shore not in the water I thought the same thing goes for skiing. These guys put forth an astonishing effort to ensure I was safe while helping me with transfers, ensuring lifts were safe and providing instructions down the mountain. We started with Zachary, the lead adaptive level two instructor, by setting a couple goals:

1.       To have an incredibly fun time.

2.       To improve my skills with the bi-ski

Zachary and Larry finally, after transfers and lifts, got me setup to do my first run. Zachary immediately assessed my skills needing to improve my work on keeping my outriggers on the snow to keep balanced and help with my turns. We hit an auspicious bump and caught a little air. It freaked me out a little bit as we finished the run and Zachary called out instructions. 

On the second day, we met Zach, Larry and Thom. We did a run focusing on keeping my riggers on the snow and everything went well until we hit the bottom and tried to load up on the lift. Larry started the count “3, 2, 1, Lift, ,Oh shit! STOP!!” he called to the lift operator. We ended up in the pit and the lift operator stopped the lift. “So this is what it’s like to end up in the pit.” I thought to myself. “No big deal” I thought as they pushed me back up to the lift area and loaded me back up.

On the third day, I absorbed all the teaching tips from Zachary and put them to use on the bi-ski. Larry noticed my improvement saying, “When we started the first day, you kept your outriggers on the snow 50% of time, now, you kept it up to 90% of the time.” Upon completion of the 3 days of skiing we met both goals we began with. With weather that was stellar each day, we finished with a visit to DSES  main office and visited with the staff. We were privileged to do some Threus Foundation business there by sponsoring a woman with Cerebral Palsy, Lisa Marie. Having a foundation to help the disabled ski is such an honor and made the trip worth it.

Our trip was an outstanding success. Good time was had by all. Mad props to Zachary and Larry for their outstanding help and support. I give all the credit for our trip to a loving God, Jesus Christ.