Zoe Creelman's Story
To say I was apprehensive about trying skiing would be an understatement. Each year during ski-season, my newsfeed is littered with friends’ stories or broken bones and impressive bruises attributed to snow sports. And they all have two feet! I’d never down-hill skied before, and I’d all but written off giving it a try for the first time in my late twenties and as an amputee.
When Össur advertised their snow weekend where I’d be with other beginners and receive adaptive coaching, my interest was piqued. I convinced a friend to come with me to stop me doing a U-turn when I got to Jindabyne, and suddenly it looked as though I might be giving snow sports a crack.
The weekend proved to be an overwhelming hit. The duo of Össur and Disabled Wintersport Association (DWA) meant everything ran smoothly. We were treated like royalty and the vibes were good from the beginning. Being paired up with a DWA volunteer was a great confidence booster. The risk of faux pas when trying something for the first time often has me hesitant, compounded by the fact that being an amputee exacerbates my incoordination, but being paired up with a DWA volunteer was a great confidence boost.
My DWA Volunteer taught me ski-lift etiquette, pointed out kooky practices of other beginners that I mentally noted, and introduced me to the fabulous tradition of glühwein after a day on the slopes. I’m pleased to report that by the end of the weekend, I could stop, turn and even bunny hop my way down the slopes. All achieved with zero bruises or broken bones! Truly a testament to the first class coaching we received.
Össur coordinated a really motivating and encouraging event. Össur champion and Paralympic snowboarder, Joany Badenhorst was the lynch pin for the weekend, keeping spirits high with good doses of encouragement and smack-talk. The tentativeness with which we all started the weekend had melted away by Sunday to broad smiles, a sense of achievement and many jokes (generally made at Joany’s expense).
So, what would I say if someone asked me if they should sign up for the Össur Mobility Clinic on the Snow in 2020? I’d want to say ‘don’t do it’ so I’ve got a greater chance of getting a spot again! But I couldn’t in good conscience, because I know just how valuable these events are in my motivation as an amputee and I want other people to have the same opportunity. SO GET ON IT! Sign up, get out of your comfort zone and try something new. The chances are that other people will be in the same boat and you’ll have a wild ride along the way, achieving more than you ever thought you would.