Bring­ing joy to ski stu­dents

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - DASHA KU­PRIENKO

They might not be able to walk, but they are no dif­fer­ent from oth­ers when on the slopes.

Dis­abled peo­ple or those with spe­cial needs are learn­ing how to ski and snow­board with Snow Sports’ adap­tive pro­gramme.

Adap­tive pro­gramme co­or­di­na­tor at the Re­mark­ables and Coronet Peak ski fields in Queen­stown, Christina Bruno, loves bring­ing joy to her stu­dents.

‘‘Noth­ing is im­pos­si­ble’’ is her ap­proach. The pro­gramme sup­ports adults and chil­dren with phys­i­cal cog­ni­tive and sen­sory dis­abil­i­ties.

Those with dis­abil­i­ties for­get about their dif­fer­ences when on the slopes, Bruno said.

‘‘It’s a big step for them to come up here but once they are ski­ing or snow­board­ing ev­ery­thing is kind of lev­elled again. They can do what ev­ery­one else can.’’

In­tro­verted chil­dren of­ten came out of their shells too, Bruno said.

The re­ac­tion of those who were on the snow for the first time was ‘‘price­less’’.

‘‘Un­con­trol­lable laugh­ter, huge smiles. The sen­sa­tion too of be­ing out­side, feel­ing the wind on their faces, feel­ing the snow un­der their feet is just a lot more stim­u­lus than they get nor­mally and they just love it.’’

Fif­teen vol­un­teers helped out with the pro­gramme this year, and Bruno is look­ing for longterm Queen­stown res­i­dents to sign up for the next sea­son.

DASHA KU­PRIENKO

Adap­tive pro­gramme co­or­di­na­tor Christina Bruno demon­strates equip­ment at The Re­mark­ables.

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