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Fun on the slopes with DSUK

A blog written by Little Hiccups

Some events are worth travelling for and the skiing run by Disability Snowsport at Chill Factore Manchester is definitely one of them! It was a pretty nasty journey over the Pennines in the morning with torrential rain and I had expected a few families to drop out due to the weather and it says a lot for this event that none did.

So what can you expect?

On arrival, we were lucky enough to be reserved a seating area space just outside the skiing where we could wait our turn and watch through the window. When it was our turn, the ski instructors would come out, introduce themselves and then help the families through the set up process and into skiing.

Set up consisted of standing on a machine with no shoes or hat and pressing the appropriate buttons to tell it how good a skier you were (or not as in my case!) then waiting for a print out. This print out was then taken around the corner where you could hire boots with a stop on the way of you needed a top up of warm clothing! It is best to bring your own clothing to save time but there was plenty available if needed on the day.

The boots are part of the package and designed to clip straight onto the skis. They were very study but not always easy to get on! There must be a knack but I’m not quite there yet myself. This is where the instructors helped out as some children needed a little bit of time adjusting to this bit.

My son and myself sneaked into the first spot bright and early so that we could be there to meet and greet the families after our go. Little Hiccups had our own designated area cordoned off for us and each of the standing ski slots was 1 hour long. Just long enough to learn the basics of skiing which included how to get up the slope and back down again (hopefully without falling over) and more importantly how to brake at the bottom. After the very basics it progressed to side to side skiing, little ski hops and head, shoulders, knees and toes THEN a little ski hop on the way down the slope. You go higher and higher up the slope and the ones that have obviously done it before or had a better sense of balance than me could move to the top or even onto the main area of the slope.

What about the Sit-Ski?

We had this progressing at the same time as all the stand up skiers so had the privilege of seeing some of the absolute joy of the children’s faces as they are whizzed down the slope. Each Sit-Ski took two instructors which is why there were less slots available. The child is safely strapped into a seat and are taken up to the top of the slope with the instructors via the ski lift. They then experience the wonder of skiing and are taken down the slope with the instructor controlling the Sit Ski to a parent waiting at the bottom. We’ve not had a child yet that hasn’t enjoyed it.

So if you are reading this, thinking whether you should give it a go or whether or not your child will do it. The answer is a resounding yes! Every child, even the initially reluctant ones, that came that day gave it a go. The team at Disability Snowsport really couldn’t have been better if they had tried. They were patient, professional, kind and understanding. As always, we try to be flexible in our events and know that even the best prepared plans go awry. The team took this in their stride and the instructors were always prepared to take a family through a little earlier or later as needed. They adjusted slots to give children time to adjust and they helped parents get their children ready and it was these efforts and this team that made the day the success it was.

This year Chill Factore also kindly donated us use of a spare room to keep our Mobile Changing Unit (MCU) in for the families to use. We were very pleased to have the space available. It was also used to help change some of the less mobile children into the ski suits so it was very useful to have on the day. So thank you Chill Factore! Sometimes its the little things that make the big differences to our families.

Blog written by Little Hiccups

Find out more about accessibility here.

Discover more about how DSUK can help your family here.

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