This weekend I went cross-country sit-skiing for the first time! My friend Sherry, who is a volunteer instructor for the National Sports Center for the Disabled took me to Devil’s Thumb Ranch, near Winter Park.
We were met by another NSCD volunteer, Rick, and he and Sherry conferred about which of the available sit-skis might work best for me. The one he brought out looked good, so I transferred into it (nice and snug!), got strapped in, and off we went. Sherry showed me how to get moving by pushing off with my poles.
It was a beautiful sunny day, in the mid-twenties, which meant that within a few minutes I was plenty hot. I shed my winter coat, my hat, my bike jacket, and eventually my gloves. Rick, who accompanied us, was soon loaded down with all my discards. The sit-ski has two skis, so it should be pretty stable, but I overbalanced on my first two turns and tipped right over onto my side (sorry, no pictures – I did tell Rick that if I tipped over again, in the interests of journalism, he should take a picture first, and pick me up afterwards). Once I’d gotten the first two falls over with, it was smooth sledding.
Out of the goodness of her heart (and desire not to make me completely crabby the first time out), Sherry chose a relatively flat course, but it still took a lot of arm power to muscle up even a mild slope. On the uphills, Rick attached a long, flexible tether to the front of my ski so that he could belay me if I started slipping back downhill (luckily, it did not come to that). On the downhills, he tethered the back of my ski, so that I wouldn’t careen out of control.
Back at the ranch, the truly difficult part of our day awaited us – Rick brought back our chairs and we had to get across about four yards of snow to the picnic tables! Then we relaxed and had some lunch, and watched the other skiers (it was a race weekend, so there was lots of activity).