Six of our colleagues represented #TeamMotivation at the adapted ski camp that took place from January 8-14, 2023 in Kaunertal, Austria. Roxana, Angel and Cristi, together with Teodor, Andrei and Dragoș had the opportunity to learn more about a sport they had never tried before: adapted skiing. The activities took place in an accessible environment and under the guidance of a team of professionals. The camp program included both the adaptation of monoskis, equipment adapted for wheelchair skiing, the presentation of basic techniques for maintaining balance and sliding on snow, first on straight terrain, and then on slopes with increasing difficulty levels. Throughout the camp, both our colleagues who use wheelchairs and the colleagues who accompanied them practiced techniques they did not know and learned new skills, which they want to use to guide others on the way to an active life and to initiate them into the secrets of adapted skiing.
Before, I didn’t like winter at all,
but now it’s like I want it to be winter and snow as much as possible.
Angel had set himself the goal of being able to move straight at least a few meters, in a monoski. It was the first time he had used such equipment. In the end, he succeeded more than he thought and left the camp eager to practice as much as possible. “I discovered that I really like skiing. After three days I managed to go down a rather steep slope by myself. It’s true that the first two descents had a few falls, but I’m on the right track. It’s a very demanding sport, but with training and staying in good physical condition, I think I have every chance of getting better and better in the future. Before, I didn’t like winter at all, but now it’s like I want it to be winter and snow as much as possible,” he says.
The freedom of movement that skiing gives you is unlike anything else.
I had great satisfaction skiing with Angel – both equals on the slopes.
Theodor is a physiotherapist and is passionate about sports. Skiing is one of the sports he practice. However, he went to camp somewhat worried because he didn’t know much about the adapted version of the sport, even though he wanted to support Angel as much as possible to progress. Here are his conclusions after the camp: “I was amazed by the increased skill level among the participants – they were very active both on and off the slopes. I learned a lot about the monoski, how it works and how it can be adapted to the needs of the user – a very important thing that makes the difference between failure and progress in most cases. I was very happy with Angel’s achievements and the fact that he was able to experience the same sensation that I experience on skis. I think the freedom of movement that skiing gives you is unlike anything else, and I had the great satisfaction of skiing with Angel the last few days without helping him at all, because he was already getting the hang of it. I felt like we were both equal on the slopes.”
I completely disconnected from everyday life
in a way I’ve never done before.
Roxana described the ski camp as the best experience of her life. “I totally disconnected from the everyday in a way I’ve never done before. At first, I spent some time in the ski region to understand the techniques and made some safety exercises and learned about the correct use of the equipment. After that it was time to put all this basic information into practice with my ski instructor on a particularly challenging slope for me. I got the hang of it pretty quickly and improved my technique. There are a few descents that stick out in my mind out of the many that I experienced these days due to the gorgeous scenery, perfect snow and absolutely amazing people I was there with. Although this extreme sport has pushed me to the max, I would repeat this experience anytime.”
It is a physically demanding sport, it takes you out of your comfort zone,
but it gives you great satisfaction.
Alex Cristi has practiced several sports since he has been using a wheelchair. However, the skiing experience was new to him. “It’s a physically demanding sport, it takes you out of your comfort zone, but it gives you great satisfaction: it’s just you and the monoski and everything depends on you. I left home with the thought of being able to stay in the monoski and be able to move a few meters by myself. After the first day of the camp I was very confident, because I achieved what I set out to do. However, I still have a lot to learn and I will definitely practice, because I like it and it gives me a lot of satisfaction.”
We have learned techniques by which we can help them, if necessary,
on our colleagues who practice adapted skiing.
Andrei is a physiotherapist and practices different sports, both on his own and in his daily work, working with people with different types of disabilities. “At the camp, I met people who have been involved in adapted skiing for over 40 years and saw that they can handle the slopes by themselves, without any help. I also tried a monoski to see how it feels and it seemed as hard as the first time I put the skis on my feet. Before the camp, I thought it would be much harder for my colleagues, but they learned much faster because of their great desire and curiosity to try a new adventure. Together with them, we also learned new techniques by which we can help them, if needed: how to pick them up when they fall, how to support them to maintain their balance when going down the slope, how to hold on to the ski lift , so they can get on, how to get on and off a chairlift.”
Dragoș was also part of the team that represented Motivation at the adapted skiing camp. He has been to many activities dedicated to people with disabilities over the years. However, he was impressed by the determination of the dozens of participants in the sports camp and the progress of our colleagues.
The adapted skiing camp was organized by our friends from the Österreichischer Behindertensportverband – Austrian Disabled Sports Association and Alois Praschberger, Rolltechnik & Sport GmbH. This was the third edition of the event attended by representatives of Motivation Romania Foundation. For Motivation, it was another opportunity to contribute to inclusion and equip people with disabilities with the training, techniques and skills they need to lead active lives and realize their dreams.