The Panorama Adaptive SnowSports Society (PASS) continues to go from strength to strength, having just recently helped host the first-ever B.C. Adaptive Snowsports (BCASS) all mountain freeride and ski race camp at Panorama Mountain Resort.
The camp ran from Friday, February 3rd to Sunday, February 5th; was a co-operative effort by PASS, BCASS (which operates as an umbrella organization for the dozen or so local adaptive snowsport or ski society across the province), Canmore-based Rocky Mountain Adaptive and Alpine Canada; and it drew 12 adaptive athletes from across B.C. and Alberta, and even one all the way from Quebec, along with a host of coaches, volunteers and a pair of Canadian national Paralympic team athletes as inspirational guests.
It went really well, it was quite a success, PASS member Cassy Campbell told tThe Pioneer, adding that, from what she understands, a second one will be held at Sunshine in April.
We had some really good experts in bucketing (helping steer an adaptive ski rig from behind by holding directly on to it) and tethering (helping steer a rig from farther behind, using tethers), the athletes had a blast, and for conditions we had everything from sunshine and blue ski to epic snow over those days, said Mrs. Campbell. Panorama is really well set up for adaptive skiing, in terms of the location of the day lodge, lifts and parking.
It was amazing, said PASS athlete and camp participant (and Mrs. Campbells husband) Forrest Campbell. It was also a good opportunity to meet other adaptive skiers and make that connection. Some of the athletes have been injured for 10 or 12 years and can remember and relate to what the first few years are like.
Mr. Campbell suffered a severe spinal injury in a ski accident in March 2015, and now uses an adaptive ski rig when out on the slopes.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Campbell said that PASS, and the camp, couldnt have happened without tremendous volunteer support.
PASS is amazing. The volunteer effort that goes into every weekend is phenomenal, said Mr. Campbell, outlining that it typically takes at least three, if not four, volunteers to help each adaptive skier two to help the skier on and off the lift, and usually one person behind and sometimes one in front while they ski. Even just getting into a sit ski requires the help of three volunteers one to hold the sit ski and two to jam the adaptive skier in.
Its like a giant ski boot for your butt, said Mrs. Campbell.
With the society out every weekend, it is always looking for more volunteers, and held an orientation session for new volunteer recruits in late January.
They do rely on the same volunteers, and becoming one does take a fair amount of training, but they need everybody who came help, said Mrs. Campbell.
Training is done in the form of Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing (CADS) courses run by Panorama ski instructor Chelsea Archer.
The society is open to anybody with adaptive snow sports needs. PASS has dealt with a whole gamut of accessibility conditions, ranging from amputees and spinal cord injuries to cerebral palsy and impaired vision, and has welcomed adaptive skiers ranging in age from nine to 78.
Its also really social, said Mrs. Campbell.
The society began with former David Thompson Secondary School (DTSS) student Katie Gibbs in 2006, and has since grown to include three or four adaptive skiers and 12 to 15 volunteers each weekend.
Its an impressive jump, how theyve grown, said Mr. Campbell.
Last winter, the society put up an adaptive shack at the top of the magic carpet lift the work was done solely by volunteer effort.
Its awesome. Its got doors at both ends, so its kind of like a car wash. You slide in, get the rig fixed up in a warm environment, then slide on out the other side, said Mr. Campbell.
In addition to looking for new volunteers, the society is also keen to acquire new equipment.
We definitely have an equipment crunch, and need more, said Mrs. Campbell.
To learn more about the society, how to volunteer and how to donate, visit www.panoramaadaptive.com.