Sit ski instructors needed for local skiers

After only a few months of fundraising, 14-year-old Grace Brulotte has raised enough money for not one but two sit skis.

Grace Brulotte with the new sit ski.

After only a few months of fundraising, 14-year-old Grace Brulotte has raised enough money for not one but two sit skis.

“Now I can go sit skiing with a friend,” said Brulotte.

She went up to Fernie Alpine Resort for the first time last Wednesday with Bruce McCorkindale, a sit ski instructor and Will Stomps, who is training to be a sit ski instructor.

“It was really great,” she said about her day on the hill.

Until Brulotte was able to purchase a sit ski, FAR only had one available that it borrowed from the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing in Kimberley.

“The sit ski FAR had was very old and very heavy, like 60 lbs,” she said. “The new one is only about 34 lbs and is made of fibreglass.”

Brulotte began fundraising before Christmas. She sold raffle tickets at Overwaitea for two prizes, and put out collection jars at Big Bang Bagels and IGS.

While Brulotte was at Overwaitea selling raffle tickets, Rod Timm, coach of the Fernie Alpine Ski Team, who talked with her about her goals with the sit ski, approached her.

“He went back home and he phoned his brother Gordon, who is from Calgary, and his daughter Amanda was on the FAST team,” said Janice Brulotte, Grace’s mother.

Gordon phoned me up and talked with me about Grace’s goals for a disabled sit ski program up at FAR, and he said that he really wanted to help us out.”

Within three weeks of speaking with Gordon, 95 per cent of the money had been raised for the sit ski.

Each sit ski costs $3,150.

Grace and Janice are now working on forming a disabled sit ski program and are hoping to consult with Fernie Alpine Resort.

“We’re asking that anyone that’s a local Fernie resident that has several years of skiing experience, if they are willing to volunteer their time, then the Canadian Association of Disabled Skiers would be willing to come to the FAR to train people to become sit ski instructors,” said Janice.

Grace and Janice are hoping to have a sit ski program set up for FAR for next season.

Grace was born with Arthrogryposis, which is a congenital disorder, that contracts and twists the body’s joints.  She uses a motorized wheel chair to get around and has limited use of her arms.

If you’d like to volunteer to be a sit ski instructor contact Janice at budandjan@telus.net.