The 2017 – 2018 ski season didn’t shatter any snow fall records in Oregon this year, but that didn’t stop us from having a great season! Opening day at Mount Bachelor was November 15th and kicked off the season with a foot of fresh powder and blue bird skies. Rocks were lurking beneath the pow and wrecked a ski or two, but that didn’t stop the fun (well, did spoil the fun for an hour or two).
In January I traveled to Denver CO to put a custom seat insert into my monoski. I am T12 paraplegic, and I found this insert to be a game changer (even though they are widely over priced. Yes, I’m looking at you Aspen Seating). Ever since I started learning how to monoski, instructors would talk to me about getting more upper and lower body separation to carve the ski. Without the insert, there was too much movement in my bucket and I just couldn’t do it no matter how hard i tried. I would drop my hip, my ski would hook up, and then the bucket would rotate around my body causing the ski to over rotate and either turn up hill, or catch an edge and take me down.
After getting the insert, I traveled to Crested Butte to ski with the Adaptive Sports Center where I took some lessons with the amazing Colleen Farrell. With the extra connection to my bucket provided by the insert, we were quickly carving skis in ways I had only been dreaming about before.
In mid-February I got to visit the Mt Baker Ski area…these guys had an epic winter with 866″ of fluffy stuff this year. Mt Baker was my old go to mountain before my injury when I lived in Seattle, and I hadn’t been back in almost four years. On the day of my fateful return to Mt Baker the skies were blue, and 12″ of fresh snow was reported…but it had drifted to over 24″ in places! It felt like a dream skiing down the same lines I used with fresh powder sailing over my head, and cheers from friends in the chair lift raining down.
To cap off a great season, I took a road trip from Bend to Big Sky Montana with my friends Greg and Warren. We piled 3 monoskis, 3 wheelchairs, and 3 bad hombres into my mini van and drove straight into a storm full of fresh stuff with at a fantastic monoski camp hosted by Eaglemount. Skiing the Marx chute at Big Sky with a foot of fresh powder I found myself reliving a second ski adventure from the days before my injury: I had skied the same chute in similar conditions back in 2013 with friends from college. I can’t tell you what it means to me to be skiing the same lines I used to in good form and with fresh snow underfoot…but I’ll try: For just a minute it feels like nothing ever happened. I’m just skiing down the mountain with a huge grin on my face, crushin pow.