Talk By Dominic Jonas - Disability Snowsport Uk Belfry Meeting - Friday 3rd February
By Norma Green
Before the main part of the evening Ian Cartwright gave us an excellent presentation of the photographs he took during the club holiday to Alpe d'Huez. Ian is a professional photographer and needless to say the photos were superb, giving a terrific pictorial of the holiday from start (at Manchester Airport) to the end (at Grenoble). Most members featured at some point along the way either standing, skiing, sitting, eating, or even sleeping and in one case in the bath! The scenic shots truly captured the ambiance of the mountains. Ian hopes to present this show again at our end-of-season party in May.
The talk which followed was extremely inspiring and we were all filled with great admiration for Dominic's dedication and enthusiasm for his work in helping people with disabilities to enjoy their snowsports. We saw a short movie of adaptive skiers on holidays provided by Disability Snowsport, which was wonderful, seeing how they cope and having a thoroughly good time. All are inspiring. One young man in particular could not walk without the aid of two helpers, but once on skis he gained his freedom and his joy was wonderful to see. We also heard another example of how a young man with severe disabilities was at first afraid as he was guided down the slope in a bi-ski, but this turned out to be because he had never felt the wind on his face before. Something we take so much for granted
Disability Snowsport UK, which incorporates the activities of the Uphill Ski Club, The British Adaptive Ski Team and Scotland's Alternative Skiers is a charity which provides opportunities for people with disabilities in skiing and snowboarding, all ages and all disabilities using specially trained instructors, volunteers and adapted equipment. Dominic brought along some of the different types of equipment and explained how they are used. We were all fascinated.
It's obvious that adaptive skiing can change people's lives and give them freedom, happiness and a buzz they could never achieve in a wheelchair. It is also the commitment and passion of the volunteers, instructors, staff and trustees - all of whom find their work so rewarding and worthwhile - that makes a huge difference to the success of the organisation.
Such a pity that the evening was not well attended, but at least a few of us now have a greater knowledge and respect for the invaluable work done by Disability Snowsport UK.