Sit Skiing – Orono, ON

“So Jamie, after we finishing locking you into this, you’re going to be dragged up the hill under the ski-lifts.”

I looked at the instructor incredulously, trying to delay my reaction long enough for him to break a smile. “Seriously?” I replied after a couple seconds without laughter.

“You’ll see.”

That was how I learned about the humour of the CADS guys at Brimacombe.

I was up for the day to try my hand at sit-skiing, a modified version of skiing that allows those without full control of their lower limbs to enjoy the slopes.

“Are you strong?”

“Not particularly” I responded.

“Hmm… well if you’re really strong this is a lot easier. Guys who have been using a wheelchair for a few years can pick up this sport fairly quick. We’ll have to be careful with you.”

My weak arms let me down again.

I’ve been scared on ski slopes before. In fact, every time I’ve ever been on a ski slope I’ve been terrified.

So you can imagine how I might have felt being strapped into a bullet shaped piece of carbon fibre and carried to the top of a hill.

The good news is that my talent wouldn’t be put to the test on today’s runs. My job was to keep poles across my lap and not panic. I only panicked once. Similarly I only fell once.

For a guy who isn’t very good at anything on the slopes, sit-skiing was an interesting ride. I was guided down the mountain by Rick and Brock, two of the CADS instructors, and both very strong skiers.

Not having to rely on my own skills meant these runs down Brimacombe were the fastest and cleanest I had ever made. I also got to experience what proper carving feels like, something I hadn’t been able to do before when relying on my own talent.

If yourself or someone you know is looking to get into modified skiing, I highly suggest getting in touch with the CADS group – as they not only offering sit skiing but a number of variations that allow just about anyone to experience the fun of the slopes.

While I just dipped my toe into the beginning stages of sit-skiing, we had Ben McColl come out and show us what the upper levels look like. An advanced Sit-skier can load and unload onto the lifts with complete independence, and there weren’t many people on the slopes able to keep up with Ben (I didn’t see anyone who was able to – but I don’t want to rule out the possibility that Picabo Street was just around the corner).

The learning curve steepens when you start using your own arms and muscles to manoeuvre yourself – a stage I never got too on in my brief time on the slopes, but you can definitely rock the slopes at a high level in a sit-ski.