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Snowboarding Bloopers

In honor of ski season, I will share with you a few of the bloopers I have had since becoming a para-snowboarder. One of the first incidents happened during my second year snowboarding with the kids. Having two prosthetic feet makes the line to get on the lift one of the most difficult parts of boarding. My feet are turned at odd angles and the ice can be slippery. Without my ankles, I sometimes lose my balance and have to concentrate on the ground so that I do not slip. I was riding the lift with my oldest son and daughter. The chair came around and we all scooted out to wait for the next chair. I usually ride on the left side of the chair because of the way that I snowboard. This allows me to stay out of people's way when I exit the lift. I tend to hug the edge so that I leave more room for other people. I scooted out to the spot and turned around. The chair was right behind me, but the problem was that half of my body was too far outside of the chair. So instead of sitting down the chair knocked me backwards and went right over me. If I had gotten hurt this would not have been funny, but because I was wearing a helmet all it did was knock me over. I watched the chairlift go right over me without hitting me and was mortified. My children did not know what to do and one sat down on the lift and the other decided that for some reason he should jump off because I was not on it with him. He ended up in the big deep pile of snow right past the loading area. The lift operator rushed out to grab me to help me up but when he reached down he grabbed my prosthetic arm. I had to tell him not to pull because my arm would probably come off. Needless to say, I clumsily made it to my feet, swallowed my pride and embarrassment, and the three of us got on the next chair. My husband was far enough back in line that he could not help me but had a terrific view of the chaos ensuing. The only thing hurt was my pride so we all had a good laugh, but to this day I think about this incident while I’m scooting out to get the chairlift.

 

My second ski blooper happened this year in 2024. I sweat a lot in my liners which causes me problems when I do higher intensity activities. If you have ever been skiing, you know that you are either constantly sweaty, or cold. It was midday and we were on the lift headed up for one more run before we called it a day. My youngest son was wiped out and the snow conditions were quickly deteriorating. My snowboard is attached to my left leg and I usually put my right foot under the board to help support it. The second I got on the lift I felt my whole liner slip down my leg.  My liner is made of a wetsuit-like material and is what I attach my prosthetic to. I looked at my youngest son and said I’m pretty sure my leg just came off. He of course instantly went into caretaker mode and was brainstorming ideas of what to do at the top.  Halfway up the lift, I was sure that if I was not supporting my board with my right foot my whole snowboard setup would have slipped off my leg and fallen on one of the ski runs. I looked at the man riding the chairlift with us and told him that although it didn’t appear so, I had two prosthetic legs - one of them was slipping off, and my snowboard may fall off, but not be alarmed. He was genuinely concerned, worried, and very sweet. As we started approaching the top of the lift I looked at the lift operator and started waving my hand across my throat in a slashing motion, (for cut it ) trying to get him to stop the chairlift. He was not paying attention and when he finally looked up I was still on the chairlift as it turned to go back down the mountain. I did not get off because I knew I was going to faceplant in the snow. He looked at me in confusion and stopped the lift. Because of the angle of the chairlift, I could not quite touch the ground and so was trying to gently scoot off and onto my feet while trying to explain to the lift operator that I had two prosthetic feet and that is why I did not get off the lift. I was trying to get my leg back on and had to unstrap my snowboard and wiggle my way to the side so that I could reset my boots and bindings. My youngest son gets so frustrated when things do not go right for me and he was concerned and tired. He announced we were definitely done for the day. I agreed since I had had enough as well. We made it off the mountain in one piece and had another great story to tell.


In the years that I have snowboarded since my amputations, I have thought about this happening and knew it was imminent, but it took until this year to finally happen. I am working on getting a routine of antiperspirant on my legs so that maybe it can help control the sweating. The problem is I don’t like the way it feels as well as the different chemicals and elements that I’m putting into my body. Sweating is a major problem for me and I envy the people who don’t have this issue. I am sure I will be able to keep you posted on progress as the years roll by.



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