A Fernie teenager is looking forward to getting first tracks in her new sit ski before the end of this ski season.
Grace Brulotte, 15, set up the Fernie Sit Ski Society last year to raise money to buy equipment so disabled people can ski in Fernie, and to coordinate a team of instructors to assist learner skiers.
She heard this week that 10 volunteer instructors can take the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing training in Kimberley in March so they can take Grace and other disabled kids in Fernie out on the slopes.
So far Grace has raised $6,500 through fundraisers and donations from local businesses, enabling her to buy two adapted sit skis for the society.
Grace was born with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita, a rare congenital disorder that contracts and twists the body’s joints. She uses a motorized wheelchair, and has limited use of her arms.
She has used a sit ski at Kimberley before, but two of the trained instructors have now retired, leaving limited time for the one remaining instructor to teach her. Panorama has an extensive, volunteer-run disabled ski school program, but is too far away for Grace and her mom Janice to travel every week.
Grace, who is home-schooled said being able to ski will help her keep her spirits up through the long winter.
“In winter I can’t go out – there are a few kids in Fernie who can’t go out. We just sit in the house and look at the snow out the window.
“It will be one more thing that I can do the same as everyone else, one more thing that I have always wanted to do that I can check off the list.
“At the program up in Panorama the kids have grown so much, socially and emotionally – they have such amazing stories of autistic kids that have completely come out of this shell – that is what I want to see here.”
After completing the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing level 1 (CADS 1) course, instructors will be able to work with skiers with visual and hearing impairments, as well as physically disabled skiers using the sit ski, and skiers with autism and other learning disabilities.
• Grace is still interested to hear from anyone who would like to complete the CADS 1 training and participate in the Fernie Sit Ski Society. You must have a CSIA level 1 instructors certificate or equivalent. Contact Grace at firstname.lastname@example.org