Beep…beep…beep. The alarm wakes us up for our first day at Park City Mountain Resort. We look out the window and are greeted by sunshine and freshly groomed runs. Excitement and chaos quickly ensue as everyone starts getting dressed and making sure they have everything they’ll need for the day, then eating breakfast and trying to get out the door for our 9:00 am lesson.
"Today my youngest daughter Veronica will join us for the first time and our whole family will be on the mountain together."
My husband, oldest daughter and I have been snowboarding together for years, but today will be different. Today my youngest daughter Veronica will join us for the first time and our whole family will be on the mountain together. I’m excited and a little apprehensive as we hustle out the door. I’ve been talking about this trip for a couple of months now, I just really hope that it’s a great experience. Veronica has special needs and I have been longing for her to be on the mountain with us. Park City Mountain Resort partners with the National Ability Center (NAC) for its adaptive ski program to make this possible. The NAC provides over 3,800 lessons each season, so they know what they are doing.
On the Mountain
We walked into the NAC ski building where we were met by Kristen, the program director, and were introduced to Que’ena, Veronica’s instructor for the morning. A bi-ski was ready and Que’ena explained the ski to Veronica, how it worked and what to expect. Then we sat Veronica in the ski and tilted it from side to side, practicing turns. A wide smile quickly spread across Veronica’s face, letting us know she was ready to go.
Geared up, we headed to the chairlift. I was wondering how this all worked, but the instructor’s experience was evident in how easy she made everything look. At the top of the lift, we rode off and headed down our first hill together. At this point I was just watching my little girl ski down the mountain, wondering what she was thinking. Back at the chairlift she was happy, and we were off to a longer run. I was kind of surprised and my stomach flipped just a little the first time I saw the instructor let go of the handle and my daughter skiing by herself, secured by a tether. That bit of anxiety quickly changed to elation as I watched everyone make their way down the mountain together. I sat back and just savored the moment. I felt the sunshine, heard the swish of the snow under my board, saw my oldest try some new tricks, and watched my husband video both girls as he rode behind them, cheering them on. Pure bliss.
We had a 3 hour session, and honestly I thought Veronica would be done after an hour or two, but she was up for the whole 3 hours. Afterwards we went to lunch together. Sitting in the lodge, revisiting our morning on the slopes and planning the rest of the day is one of my favorite times on the mountain. Having both of my kids enjoying this with us together made it complete.
To say that I was impressed by the NAC at Park City Mountain Resort would be an understatement.
Their commitment to providing ski lessons for all ages and all abilities is more than a slogan. My daughter is pretty complicated and tough to fit in any equipment, we are always trying to find solutions on our own. The NAC’s experience and approach made this an amazing experience for our family, so much so that we are planning a return visit.
It is my sincere hope that other families take an opportunity to try this experience for themselves. Although I always wanted my daughter to ski with us, I had no idea how much it would really mean to her. It was liberating for all of us.
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The views expressed on Snowmamas are those of the individual authors, who are independent contractors of Park City Mountain Resort, and may not be factually accurate. These views are not intended to reflect the opinions of Park City Mountain Resort, its owners, its management or its employees. Snowmamas' authors have or will receive a paid trip to Park City Mountain Resort or will receive other compensation for their participation as an author.