May 29, 2018

Cameron's Adaptive Skiing Trip

Cameron Broyles

For my birthday, my parents surprised me with a ski trip to Steamboat Springs. We decided to celebrate it a day earlier. My mom did all the planning and coordinating of the schedule. It was actually a ski camp that caters to kids like me. My dad and I were going stay in a hotel for three days. After my parents got done with packing my new ski jacket, pants and boots that I got for my birthday, my dad said to me he had to go the enterprise store, so he could rent a more acceptable vehicle for driving through the snowy Rockies unlike my dad’s truck. 

During the three-hour drive to Steamboat Springs, I was praying that my dad wouldn’t hurt himself because he hasn’t skied in nineteen years. When we got to the Rocky Mountains, I started feeling tired from my baclofen pump, so my dad stopped at a gas station once we got to a town. He bought me a Five-Hour Energy! My eyes jolted wide open as a rush of pure energy came through my body while I sipped through a small straw. I was laughing up a storm. The feelings that I was experiencing felt like I was in an interview after winning a Nascar race and saying, “It felt real good; the five hour energy blended well. Don’t know what to do with my hands” (an ode to my favorite movie, Talledega Nights). Yet, my mind was like an airbag rupturing through the immense pressure of fear. My dad was freaking out and was constantly asking me, “Why are you laughing so much?” I didn’t know how to answer that question with a short answer because my brain was running fifty million miles per hour. Thinking about Jesus, assuming my dad will fall and break something by skiing, and what I’m hoping to do in the future. My mom will probably never let my dad give me a Five-Hour Energy again because she got real paranoid when we called her on FaceTime and told her once we got settled in the hotel. She told us that it is a gateway drug. So, I don’t recommend giving this to your kid. But before we could check in at the hotel we had to check into the ski resort for camp. The people at the front office were super nice and very inviting. One of my buddies from power soccer, Jack went to the ski resort also. He usually skis on the black mountain. He told them about me and my blog. I was happy that Trevor, who is the guy that runs the program was there with me and was going to be my guide...Thanks Jack!!! Meanwhile, I was going on the blue mountain the next day. The blue mountain is the second tallest mountain to ski on other than the black mountain. While my dad was asking a bunch of questions, I sat there calmly and listened until I looked through the glass pane and saw all the people walking past the building and realized that we didn’t bring our power soccer flyers to recruit some new players for our team! Then I looked straight at my dad in all seriousness. He looked at me for a moment then, I started telling him but, right before I was about to finish my sentence, he got distracted with signing papers. So, I maneuvered my Fold a Wheelchair (mechanical wheelchair) across the room to see the sleds that they use for disabled people. At first glance, it looked long and skinny, almost too skinny like it would tip. I asked my skiing guide, Trevor (my dad translated).  Trevor said that they’ll put down riggers on each side of the sled. I felt better when I heard that answer. When we got to the hotel and entered our room, my dad and I saw the horror in front of our eyes! There was only one bed. Which was just great because I get to sleep with a wiggle worm. 

The next day, we got up early feeling groggy and semi tired. My dad started setting up a bag for me to get as many calories I can possibly get before I have to get dressed. I already knew beforehand that I’m going to burn calories like nobody’s business while skiing. After I got done with eating, my dad dressed me with my new orange ski jacket and pants. I felt like I was Randy! All bundled up tightly with a red scarf, two layers of pants and two layers of coats. Feeling like a stick figure. Actually, it wasn’t that bad. The jacket and pants were very comfortable. Before we left, my dad got his ski clothes on since he’s going skiing on the bunny slope. At around nine, we got to the front office, Trevor and Hannah started to help me get in the sled. My dad of course explained to Trevor how to hold on to me correctly when I’m walking. Then my dad left to go skiing on the bunny slope. Trevor and Hannah did some practice tests and lifted the sled up so that they can get the ice and snow off the snowboard. At first, Trevor helped me steer to the ski lift. I was so frightened once we got on and the ski lift climbed up because the sled would shake a little. I was relieved when they lowered a safety bar down in front of me once they positioned the sled to the correct spot. I was still scared when I saw myself forty feet off the ground! As we were about to get off, the lift temporary decreased its speed and the sled suddenly pounced on the snowy turf headfirst. Then we finally went skiing. Trevor said that he didn’t want to put the riggers down until I know what it feels like when turning. As I zoomed down the mountain, I felt the rush of cool Rocky Mountain air penetrating my face. I had to dodge people. By leaning my trunk left and right the sled turned smoothly through the snow. It was so easy! But if you do it for three hours straight, your muscles will be worn out. I occasionally told Trevor or Hannah to put the ski mask on when my face started getting cold. At around 45 minutes till noon, we started heading back to the ski resort. I saw my dad sitting on the bench waiting on me. He told Trevor, Hannah and myself that he fell hard on his shoulder (we later learned that he had a separated shoulder after four weeks of pain, he finally went to the doctor). We had some lunch before I went for the second half of the day. I only wanted to ski for an hour and a half more since I was already tired. Which later, I regret because the sun was coming out and melting all of the softer snow leaving the harder snow out. My head was about to come off! Back and forth; looking at the sky, looking at the ground constantly. I felt I was riding a stallion that is trotting fifty mph. How was I able to maneuver through all that racket! Trevor had to help me I think. Which is either him coordinating me or him completely controlling. I am certain that he had to control the sled at that rocky moment because I almost lost my body control. My mind can be weird sometimes, I was thinking of myself as Tow Mater driving down a bumpy road and constantly loosing bolts! When we got down to the bottom of the mountain, I overheard Trevor telling Hannah that his foot nearly came out of the skies, which frightened me. I told Trevor that I only wanted to ski in the morning tomorrow once we got back to the ski resort. Towards the end of the hour and a half I was so ready to collapse in a bed and hibernate in a hotel room for the rest of the day. “Lock down!” as my dad says while he shuts the blinds to hermit mode. I was very proud of myself that I could do it for that long. 

Sunday was a perfect day to ski, partially sunny skies, not too cold which was good for me because I get cold fast and the people don’t have to hear a tractor by them (snorting). I am still a Houston Texan. I kind of miss all the moisture in Houston sometimes because this winter, Colorado has destroyed my lip and left a big crack. So, occasionally, I reminded Trevor to put on Chapstick, that way I don’t have to start the healing process again. On the other hand, you just can’t get the feeling of slushy icy snow being splattered all over your mask as another skier swerves his skies through the snow so broadly in front of me. My dad didn’t go skiing that day. He probably just lied down on the bed and watched YouTube videos. I felt a little bad for my dad especially towards the end of the skiing day when I went on the half pipe. The half pipe was my favorite thing to do. Every time I wanted to do the half pipe, I had to go through an obstacle, the big ramp. First of all, I had to navigate my way around the higher ramps to finally scope upon what would be my next significant activity for the day. I thought the sled ramp was cool but not as exhilarating as the half pipe. The reason why I think that is because the sled acts like a sailing vessel swaying across the turquoise ocean. I loved the second the sled went airborne! My second favorite part was just looking down from the ski lift and watching people get cocky by jumping off a slope and then  falling. Also, Trevor would tell jokes to me and I would try to guess the answer, which I sucked at. However, I was grateful that I had an awesome ski teacher behind guiding me. Granted that it may take me a whole lot of determination and fantastic fine-motor control to my arms, before I can potentially ski by myself with ski poles. Next year I am going to try the black mountain!

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