Instructors teach able-bodied people in sit-skis

WINTER PARK - When people come to Winter Park, they are often looking for an experience. At the 40th Annual Wells Fargo Cup, instructors want to give people an experience they'll never forget.

"Another measure of understanding for people who are different is a really big goal," Beth Fox, Education and Outreach Director for the National Sports Center for the Disabled, said.

The NSCD helps people disabilities learn to ski and compete. In its 45th year, the NSCD has helped many athletes achieve their dreams and medal at the Paralympics, like Alana Nichols. Nichols won gold medals in basketball and ski racing.

"I broke my back in a snowboarding accident when I was 17," Nichols said.

She enjoys watching able-bodied people give a sit-ski a try. Nichols says she was nervous her first time trying a sit-ski after her accident.

"Especially coming from a snowboard injury, you know, I knew how the mountain is and the snow is not very forgiving."

Fox says some people with disabilities come to try a sit-ski, but they are full of excuses instead.

"People can do more than they think they can and I think sometimes in the beginning as instructors we hear well this is stupid. My mom made me come. My husband bought me a plane ticket," Fox said. "Those are euphemisms for I'm afraid."

But, she says that's the point of coming to the NSCD.

"For sure they need confidence and we want to help them build that," Fox said. "It's trying to identify with them their strengths and then teach to their strengths and build on their strengths and have someone feel really good about this."

Fox wants able-bodied people to appreciate what its like to ski, fall, and get up without using their legs.

Nichols wants people to see how empowering a sit-ski can be for someone who cannot walk.

"Being able to ski and being able to get on top of a mountain really does change your perspective on what you're capable of doing," Nichols said.

The Wells Fargo Cup is the annual fundraiser for the National Sports Center for the Disabled.


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