Monday, December 11, 2017

First big test successful!

Raquel finally got a chance at skiing with her longest buddy as well as her uncle, aunt, sister and a few new friends. This without the generosity or extra logistical maneuvers of  finding and setting up a sit ski through one of the many great disability ski programs, which really means - way more time on snow having fun!  That freedom to just go was amazing.

In the first few runs Andrew and I definitely were wide eyed wondering how lift loading and skiing was going to go.  He was of great help shadowing us from above, deflecting the path of any savage skiers.  There was mention he was nervous watching Raquel and I arch close to the edge of runs, every time seeing a disaster in his minds eye.

Happily there were only two crashes to report.  One when someone got too close and Andrew yelled at me, so focused on not letting my skis get caught in Raquel's for an evasive move I couldn't think of anything else to do but to just fall over to stop and hope for the best.

Raquel did her part and kept her arms in and braced for the hard snow impact.  I can't imagine a broken, RDEB, zero collagen arm in a plaster cast for the required healing time, so the risks of even taking Raquel up there are great.  Unfortunately I'm me and tend to think fun first, ask questions later. It was clearly a good thing Andrew and I gave Raquel a little speech and did a few test falls before we went up.  I think explaining how much more a broken arm might hurt than scuffing the snow sideways as she slides to stop worked.

The second, Cordelia was skating Raquel across the flats at base.  Coco couldn't wait to drive Raquel and kept asking when was her chance, so I let her go along the easy part.  But as pushed ahead in full trust of Cordelia's strength and ability I heard Coke panic as I was placing my skis in the racks for lunch.  When I saw her there were a couple of parents headed to help and that always strikes more fear in me than the fall itself and I belted out my regular, 'don't touch that kid!', shocking the poor do gooders into a motionless stance next to Raquel.  It's always difficult to explain Raquel's condition in the shortest possible terms and what could happen if one picks her up without a very conscious thought of her skin and friction points.  EB, simply doesn't make sense especially when for the most part Raquel looks like every other kid, especially when she's all bundled up.  People consistently walk away looking visibly upset for being yelled at for simply trying to be a good Samaritan.

Unfortunately, there's not much else I can do or have time for in those settings.

It would be nice one day EB had the awareness of say Cancer and all us EB parents are able to just say 'he/she has EB don't touch please'.  Then we'd be graced by the perfect reply, 'Oh, thanks for telling us, BTW we support Debra Canada!'.

Back the the main story - the skiing was amazing!
Raquel giggled and screamed the first few runs feeling the forces of being locked into a turn and the swish of snow and wind as we navigated down and across many runs on Blackcomb.

I was too busy skiing and tracking about the hill learning how to work the sled to think of taking any photos, but thankfully Maria and Andrew sent us a few.  I think for the first half of day every turn was survival mode. By the afternoon it was getting to be pretty fun as Raquel and I started to sync our movements and play about the mountain.

The sit ski performed amazing and turned on a dime once we figured it out.  The large handles and ergonomic placement of Raquel's body in seat centered on the ski, worked very well.  It absolutely helps that she is as light as she is.

Here's Raquel getting set at home the night before to see if the padding and seat would work. ( Note - no gorby gap)

It must be mentioned the ROCK STAR PARKING having a disability tag affords.  It's obviously not what one looks to be in the company of, but once you are there it's pretty special, practical and time saving, plus getting the extra space and not knocking every car around with the cumbersome gear we often take along.  Surprisingly Lot 7 only has two disabled parking stalls, seems light for such a major resort.  I was very happy that we finally got around to getting the tag as we've only had it for a couple weeks.  It wouldn't have been much fun walking that sled up to the next lot a few hundred meters up the hill.


Above~ Raquel was very happy to be able to share the big mountain experience with Ella, well I think they both were!

Above~ we were all standing and watching Ella and another little buddy climb up off piste to ski some powder.
Don't worry, we'll fix Raquel's gorby gap before next session.  It's difficult when worrying about abrasion issues that ski etiquette can get lost.

After a full day on hill, Raquel only had one blister at back of leg.  I'm not sure if it was due to her sitting on chair for lunch or if it was from the sit ski padding I quickly set together.  We will definitely figure it out for next time.  I also have to resolve some minor suspension issues as it seems very slow and not nearly as spongey as I think it should.  Chris at Enabling Technologies was very good giving me a long list of what to do almost immediately after I asked him for advice.

Once Raquel and I became comfortable with the ski hill and how to slip and slide and not generate too much speed through each turn, I took her into the moguls.  The video below was our last run and you can tell Raquel was getting tired as her head started to bob after every little bump.  As soon as we hit the road below she asked to go down.  However moments later she heard that Ella and Cordelia would go for another run and instantly changed her mind not wanting to miss any of the action. I had to stick to my guns and talk her and Ella out of it, as having her breakdown and fly into one of her fits of rage to end the day wasn't how to finish one of the best ski days EVER!

Oh yeah, on our second or third run, I couldn't help myself and we went into the race course way before my ability of 'thumber' should have allowed.  Mostly, I just wanted to see if Cordelia was as good as her dad and also beat Andrew down a race course....  Andrew beat her, but Cordelia quietly complained her SL skis wouldn't go as straight as course was set.  Andrew got lucky, this time, we'll pack some long GS rockets for next time and see if Andrew can keep it together.  

After watching them do the course it just kept calling Raquel and I into it's rhythm and skill testing beauty.  After initially getting the handles stuck in the start gate, we broke out and Sage was already long gone, after 3 gates we had built up too much speed and in my attempts to kill speed we charged across the course and nearly went off into the trees.  I had a moment of fear, as did Raquel as we hadn't fully mastered the side slide to scrape the required speed, but as you can see we were able to stop in time.

There is very little else out there that is as much fun as skiing.  Meandering about people and objects making the run a giant play ground and feeling the small G's as one digs into a turn.  I'm fairly certain Raquel felt much of this in her 5th day on the hill.

Looking forward to our next day out!

Thank you Enabling Techologies for your great product and Debra Canada for making this happen.

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