Sunday, 22 January 2017

Adaptive Cross Country skiing is alive and well at Mount Washington

   by Keith and Heather Nicol
Cross country skiers know that one of the great aspects of the sport is that it gets us out in the fresh air and is an ideal form of exercise since it strengthens our legs and arms and is also an aerobic workout.  Mount Washington in the Comox Valley has been having a great 2016-17 season so far with a very busy Christmas season and so far January has generally had very good weather for skiing. But people may not know that Mount Washington also has a well established adaptive skiing programme.  Recently I spoke to Steve Latta, the programme’s Nordic coordinator about how it works and who can participate. “We try to get people with a variety of challenges to try x-c skiing and this might include people with spinal cord injuries, amputees, visual impairment and cognitive issues. We have 12 trained guides who help out on a regular basis. Our main focus is helping with the Woody Gundy School programme and last year we had 54 students in our classes over the winter. We also have a number of adults who use our services and we also have a 4 day Ski Festival in early January where skiers get to come to really get immersed in the skiing since they are out day after day. This year we had 6 skiers take part which is about the maximum we can take”.  
Some of the skiers and guides at this year's festival

One of the best parts of the programme is that it is financially attainable for most people. Once people join BCAS (British Columbia Adaptive Snowsports)  for $47 per year all rentals and instruction is free. And Mount Washington offers trail tickets for ½ price to BCAS members under VISAS (Vancouver Island Society for Adaptive Snowsports) guidance.  People can also try x-c skiing with the VISAS “Have-A-Go” programme where skiers can buy a 1 day membership in BCAS for $10. For more information you can phone Steve Latta at 250-871-4488 and you can book a lesson at 250-334-5755.

A sit skier has 3 people to help guide them around the trail




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