Travel can do many things. It can entertain, relax, restore, educate, challenge and so much more. I have had so many wonderful experiences through travel and am always grateful. Sometimes you go thinking you are going to have one experience, and you come away with much more. That’s what happened when my husband and I went for a relaxing few days of skiing in Vail, Colorado.
I love ski vacations. The snow, the food and the après ski scene are all appealing. The one part of the vacation that has always been difficult for me is the skiing itself; I have some lifelong issues with my legs. Wearing ski boots has always been painful making the skis hard to manage, and as I get older, I worry more about getting hurt. That is exactly what happened the last time we were in Vail. So, while I wanted to go back to Vail, I had been avoiding skiing for a while because of this fear. I knew that if I wanted to enjoy skiing more, I would need help from the professionals!
A few months in advance I called Vail’s Adaptive Ski Program to find out if I was a candidate. Once I explained my issues, to my pleasant surprise I learned I was. They listened carefully and suggested ski biking…which I had never heard of! I decided that no matter how nervous I felt, I would go through with the experience with an open mind, and when I finally got there, it was fantastic. What was different? Unlike previous instructors, my adaptive instructor Katie took everything I said seriously. With her help I ended up having the best ski experience of my life!
In the past, all aspects of getting set up with boots and skis has been difficult: trying on multiple sizes and explaining my requirements, usually over and over, making me very self-conscious. This time, with Katie being in charge, I was comfortable and found equipment that fit perfectly. Nothing hurt! After I was set up, we headed out to the mountain for my lesson. Things had already begun more positively than ever before, so I was anxious to get started!
On the slopes, Katie patiently explained to me what to do and I gained confidence quickly. By having the right equipment and instruction I was less worried about getting injured. On the surface, I looked like any other skier, albeit with different equipment, but I wasn’t the only adaptive skier. The mission of Vail’s Program is to make skiing accessible to all. Every day, blind skiers, developmentally challenged children and those with other physical or mental issues hit the slopes. The program allows people, who otherwise would not have this experience gain confidence, have fun, and most importantly, feel included as fellow skiers.
As a destination, Vail is fantastic. There are two vibrant villages filled with restaurants, bars, and shopping. There are accommodations of every kind – everything from condos to 5-star hotels and luxury villas. There are gondolas literally steps from many of these accommodations, making it unbelievably easy to go from the breakfast buffet to the slopes to in a matter of minutes. There is skating and tubing and a million other activities to provide an amazing experience for people of all ages. The best part is that I can wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone, whether you are a beginner, an expert, or someone just like me with a physical limitation. I am glad I took a chance with Adaptive Skiing. We’ve already made our reservations for next year!
Contact Vail’s Adaptive Ski Program at 970-754-3264 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeannine specializes in custom-designed travel experiences for those who are too busy to plan or want a multi-destination itinerary they can’t create on their own. While specializing in Europe, Jeannine has connections and relationships with travel providers around the world, making just about any destination yours to discover.