The Okanagan has been known as a winter wonderland for many years. Mild winters bring small amounts of snow to the valley bottom, but huge amounts of champagne powder to the ski hills.
Many of us locals take a trip up to the ski hills for granted. It’s pretty easy to get around on foot, with ski gear and passes readily available. However, for some, it’s not so easy. Those with physical disabilities, cognitive differences or mental disabilities, can have a much more difficult time getting access.
Fortunately, we are lucky to have some great organizations here in Kelowna who are working hard to make sure that anyone can take advantage of the snowy mountains around us.
People in Motion are one of those organizations. Also known at Big White Ski Resort as the Powderhounds, they take people up who need specialized equipment, or provide one-on-one lessons for people that need to learn in a different manner than your standard lesson package.
With dozens of volunteer instructors at the ready, the Powderhounds team is a well-oiled machine, making for a really enjoyable day of skiing for everyone. For those with physical disabilities, the trip starts with getting comfortable in their skis (mono or sit-ski) with the help of a team of volunteers working to make sure harnesses are secure and straps are comfortable.
A large team of instructors joins the participants down the hill to make sure everyone is safe and having fun! The team helps get the skiers onto the chair lifts to get back up for another fun trip down the mountain shredding the powder.
From brand new skiers, along with people who have hit the slopes dozens of times, the instructor group is well equipped to make sure each experience level is comfortable.
I had the opportunity to catch a ride on one of the sit skis and with a great team helping me down the hill, it was a BLAST. I don't have any physical or cognitive disabilities, but as someone who doesn’t ski or snowboard very well, it was by far the most fun I’ve had on the hill (and zero falls was much better than the 20-30 I’m accustomed to!).
My point of view from sit skis
For more information about the Powderhounds see their website.