Winter Social Meeting Disability Snowsports UK Talk 8th Jan 2016

Reporter: Paul Sharp

Our own Rick Meyers hosted our January social evening. The talk entitled “Disabilities in Snowsports" was given to a small but very attentive audience at Chill Factore. The talk started with Rick giving a brief resume of his skiing journey which started aged 13 on a school trip to Austria to the present day, spanning 32 years, to him finally becoming a BASI Alpine and Adaptive Level 2 Instructor at the age of 47 (sums obviously not Ricks strong subject)!!

His first interest in adaptive skiing followed the 666 Skiathon held at Chill Factore which was a DSUK (Disability Skiing United Kingdom) charity fundraising event. SCOM had entered teams over a number of years. Rick then volunteered for the local DSUK groups at Chill Factore and Pendle Ski Club, also volunteering in 2014 for the charity Katies Ski Tracks who take children with disabilities, terminal illness or from disadvantaged backgrounds on a once in a lifetime ski holiday to Italy.

Rick showed the video of the 2014 trip to Italy with Katies Ski Tracks and also a TV news item at the Chill Factore following up on the children experiences. The item showed how much these children had enjoyed the experience but also how the experience had been highly emotional for parents who were amazed at their children's achievements.

The children are truly inspirational including one little girl who stands out in my mind - she had lost both legs, below the knee, and an arm following illness. She was offered a sit ski but was determined to ski upright and following a lot of equipment adapting achieved her aim by the end of the week.

After his experience as a volunteer Rick decided to take his instructing down the Adaptive route and passed his BASI level 2, April 2015 in Andorra. During the course he had to master all the equipment he was aspiring to teach people to use. Rick showed video footage of him and his colleagues on the course trying, with varying amounts of success, to master the equipment.

Rick is now employed by DSUK at Chill Factore and works most Sundays. Rick teaches people with a wide range of disabilities using a wide range of equipment. Disabilities include amputees, Autism, Aspergers, Cerebal Palsy, Downs Syndrome, Hemiplegia, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Spina Bifida, Spinal Cord Injury and Visual Impairment. The equipment includes bi’ skis, mono skis, hand riggers, ski bras or J links.

Rick also showed a video which outlined the work of DSUK. The video included footage of skiers with disabilities skiing down gentle pistes to some awesome off piste to Racing. This seemed to reinforce DSUK’s moto ACCEPT NO LIMITS.

A week after the talk, Rick headed out to Niederau, Austria as an instructor with DSUK.

Thanks to Rick, whose enthusiasm for the subject shone throughout the talk. He obviously gets a great sense of satisfaction working with this inspirational group of skiers.