This week I have spent a lot of time getting organised for a birthday snow trip for Ayla. I have been wanting to get to the snow ever since the very first snow flake fell this season but felt the logistics of getting up there and getting back on a snowboard with Ayla in tow seemed like an insurmountable problem.....having no family/friends down here that we could employ for the day. Then a Facebook friend of mine mentioned that the snowfields in New Zealand have disability programs and why couldn't Ayla have just as much fun on the snow as us??? Good question!!! Why couldn't she.....insert sound of can of worms opening...... And here we have it!!! A fabulous daytrip to the snow planned for ALL of us to enjoy!
For those of you in the disability world, here's what to do....
STEP 1: Get your child or yourself a membership from Disabled Wintersport Australia. New memberships for 1 year are $90. Renewal is $67.50. The membership is for any snowfield in Australia and gives the person with the disability 50% off their private lesson (that's what you have to book into), 50% off their lift pass AND gives their carer 50% of their lift pass too....and I believe the person with the disability gets 50% of any purchases in the snowsports retail shop too....I think. You also get a guide who is specially trained in aiding/supervising people with disabilities on the snow AND there is a variety of equipment to suit EVERY disability. Sit ski's, modified snowboards, modified ski's etc. You will receive an email confirmation of your membership and will be asked to email a passport photo and then they send you a membership card in the mail.
STEP 2: Contact the snowfield of your choice and book in to a private lesson of your choice. They are usually either 2, 3 or 6 hours long with a private instructor.
STEP 3: Go back to the DWA site and fill out a Ski Guide Request Form and email to firstname.lastname@example.org. This helps the DWA decide what sort of guide will be required for yours or your child's disability, the equipment that will be needed and at this time you also need to tell them which snowfield you are booked at and the place and time for meeting for the lesson.
And that's pretty much it.... Mel Chivers from the DWA is great to have a chat to if you have any questions regarding how it all works or if you are unsure what equipment you/your child need to have and you can call her on 02 6450 0227.
For Ayla, we have booked a sit ski which looks like a little dodgem car with ski's on the bottom. They modify the straps to suit the child's level of disability and they even hook the sit ski up to the chair lift and take them up the mountain.....I am freaking just a little at the thought of this but they tell me they do it all the time. She's booked in for a 2 hour lesson, and Joan, who is Ayla's Learning Support Assistant at school has offered to come up for the day and take care of Ayla after her lesson so that Steven and I can go snowboarding for the day. It could just be me snowboarding yet....Steven is just a little worried about injuring himself whilst he's in the college. Can't pass your fitness test if you're on crutches!! Anyway, that's a whole other story :)