Saturday, 5 November 2016

Conquering The Saddle!

Hello there sunshine and welcome to another post!

My spirits were slightly low as I dressed in my ski gear for our final day in Whistler. With us leaving the next day, and this being our last day of skiing for the season, everything felt bittersweet. Had I known what was in store for me that morning I might have been more excited... All I knew was that Scott was taking me to ski The Saddle. Going up the gondola, The Saddle was just another run, coming down the gondola at the end of the day, The Saddle would represent victory and freedom. And one of the most terrifying runs I've ever been on... This day, with its mix of victory and terror, will forever hold the title "favourite ski adventure of 2016"! Whistler will have a special place in my heart because of it...

"That's The Saddle right there," Scott said on the way up the Peak chair. I glanced at The Saddle, then at Scott, then at Sarah. Sarah, the president of Whistler Adaptive and an all around fantastic human being, skied with us for the morning and took part in our glorious adventure. While riding the chair, we talked about our programs, which left me feeling slightly small in comparison to the superiority of Sarah's role as president of such a hugely successful program. I also attempted to tease Scott into feeling intimidated about sitting next to two lady presidents. My attempts to intimidate Scott are usually futile... Intimidating people in general is not my strong point... I took another sideways glance at The Saddle. "It doesn't look so bad," said my mind. Well reader, my mind was wrong... Yes, from the chairlift The Saddle did look non-threatening, but it is an entirely different beast when you're at the top of it.

Had Scott given me a moment's pause at the top, I may have had time to reconsider attempting to ski it. The Saddle is by far the steepest run I have ever looked down upon, and the fact that Scott wanted me to ski it made me wonder what I did to make him want to kill me. Maybe that was his plan all along, and he convinced Sarah to be in on it too! "Maybe I should've told my mother I loved her before leaving," I thought to myself. Giving me time to pull out of something is not Sir Scott's style, which I know all too well now... We barrelled over the top of The Saddle with no hesitation whatsoever, until we heard the sound...The sound that has the same skin-crawling effect as nails on a chalkboard... The sound was pure, rock hard ice under our skis... Neither of us had expected that. We pulled off to the side immediately to collect ourselves. I think this was the first time in our skiing together that Scott was noticeably nervous. I tried to distract myself by watching the other skiers, only to see that most of them were SIDESLIPPING down the run. Ironic if you ask me... Sarah had already made her way down the run and was filming us from the bottom. Filming our epic crash that would receive millions of views on Youtube. I'd be dead, but at least I'd be famously dead... My other comfort was in knowing that my mother would most likely kill Scott after discovering that he killed me on The Saddle... At least there's justice in this world!

When we were ready to continue, I took a deep breath, cleared my mind as best as I could, and braced myself for the first turn. If you ski, you might be able to relate to the butterfly feeling you get in your stomach when you make the first turn on a steep slope. I immediately discovered how thrilling those butterflies were. One turn, two turns, and before I knew it we had found our rhythm and were descending the run turn by turn. I'm sure my continuous scream of terror and joy was heard from Whistler all the way back to Fernie.... That's when it hit me. That ultimate sense of freedom that I had been hoping for. I completely forgot that I was in a sit ski, because for once I was doing something exciting and daring, slightly dangerous and at the same time thrilling. As we neared the end of the run, and I realized that I was indeed still alive, fear gave way to pure joy, and I found myself laughing and in tears all at the same time. Scott, who was apparently just as happy as I was to still be alive, began to hoot and holler and yell "THAT WAS AWESOME"! We were both laughing as we spun around and came to a stop at the bottom. The only thing that came to my mind at that moment was, "HOLY SHIT!" But apparently my mind decided thinking holy shit wasn't enough, because before I knew it, holy shit exited my lips with a louder volume than I had anticipated... Scott was pretty amused by this having never heard me swear before, and tried to make me repeat it for the camera, which I ignored. Skiing The Saddle and surviving was one thing... Swearing and surviving my mother is quite another... Her glare is like death...

Scott turned me around so we could stare at The Saddle and try to grasp what we had just done. I felt like I had been given a precious gift as I looked at that slope. There have been many times in my life when I felt like giving something up because of fear. But sit skiing has taught me that fear is the driving force behind victory. The Saddle was like the pinnacle of this journey of self-discovery I have been embarking on. The Saddle was my break through. The fear lasted only a moment, but the joy and the victory will last a lifetime. Conquering The Saddle will forever hold a special place in my heart.

I am forever thankful that I was given the opportunity to ski again this season. What I have seen and done this year was certainly beyond what I could ever imagine, and although not every experience was pleasant, the results have taught me so much about myself and have been a true joy in my life. The instructors who skied with me were my rocket fuel, taking me to new heights, and blessing my life beyond words. To everyone who was involved in my ski adventures this season, I say thank you... Thank you with all of my heart...



  1. That looks totally crazy, totally fun, and totally like something you (and never I) would do!! You rock it, make me want to attempt new and exciting things (but not on the ski hill!). You're awesome, Grace!

  2. Your winter photos are beautiful. You have a lovely blog. :)