Skiing takes on a little different meaning when it's done on one ski, or three skis, or a sled with a ski on the bottom, or two skis but with no idea whatsoever what lies ahead.
Handicapped people do ski. Some very well. Actually, only the techniques are different. The rewards are there . . . people skiing.Saturday, the Park City Handicapped Sports Association will step forward to promote its program. The following Saturday, the Snowbird Handicapped program will do the same.
The intent, of course, is to get more handicapped skiers skiing.
Bottom line is money. Handicapped skiers need special equipment to ski -sleds, outriggers, helmets, monoskis, bi-skis.
These, points out Meeche White, director of the Park City program, cost money, "about $1,500 for a monoski, and about the same for a bi-ski. Less for some of the other equipment, but it all cost . . . and in a lot of cases it's far more than disables person can afford."
Fortunately, here in Utah, there is support for these programs.
Last week, for example, West One Bank held a fund-raising race for the Park City program and raised $9,000.
According to White, the bank has raised more than $40,000 for her program over the past four years.
From the bank's perspective, said bank president and chief executive officer Jim Stewart, "it allowed customers to learn more about a very worthwhile organization."
A second event for White's program will be Saturday at Park City. It will be the fourth annual JANS/Salomon Handicap Challenge. Teams of five racers - a celebrity, a handicap skier and three other racers - will compete on a tri-slalom course.
Included among the celebrities will be Lt. Governor Val Oveson, David Birney, Alison Mills, Kimberly Perkins, Ed Ames, Jim Gaddis, Steve Brown, Holly Flanders, Marv Fleming and Lou Hudson.
The event will begin at 10 a.m. on the Clementine Run.
The following Saturday, March 2, 49er backup quarterback Steve Young will chair the 5th annual NFL/Celebrity benefit at Snowbird.
Among the celebrities will be NFL players Fred Willard, Mike Coffer, Guy Bingham, Eric Wright, Barry Helton, Lee Johnson and Mark Belini.
The Snowbird race will begin at 11 a.m. on the Wilbere Ridge race course. This will be followed by a dinner and auction at 6 p.m.
There will be an autograph party on March 1, from 6 to 8 p.m., at Snowbird. Admission is $5.
Both events are intended to raise money to help expand handicap ski programs. Without such support, skiing opportunities would be lost to some physically impaired people.
Both White and Peter Mandler, director of the Snowbird program, pointed to a rising interest in skiing among the disabled. Last year, for example, White had about 1,000 participants in her program. This year she expects to have more than 1,500.
In January, for example, the Park City group hosted 15 children and young adults from the Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. All were leg or arm amputees from cancer. All, said White, skied and most for the first time.
On March 1, the Park City association will begin its Winter Ski Programs for the physically and mentally disabled.
Program days will be Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and at times of 9:30 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.
For $10, students - from ages three to 75, and disabilities ranging from orthopedic, spinal cord, neuromuscular and visual impairment, as well as developmentally disabled - will get a lift ticket, lesson and all the necessary equipment.
Each student, said White, will be "Individually evaluated according to their needs." Sponsorships are available for those who lack funding.
For information on the Park City program call 649-3991 and for the Snowbird program 521-6040.