Finding my Passion
Updated: Feb 15
Why am I so dedicated to the sport of skibobbing? It has changed my life and helped me regain my soul.
I was diagnosed with a chronic disease about 20 years ago. Outside of work, I was an avid outdoor recreationalist and accomplished traditional climber. I climbed, paddled, hiked and camped in the mid-Atlantic region. I also loved skiing. It was disappointing when, because of my illness, I eventually became unable to participate in the outdoor sports that I loved so much. The loss was devastating. When I relocated to Colorado, I found myself struggling to make connections and fit in. For several years I wasn’t able to do much of anything; I became isolated and extremely depressed. I desired to get back on the mountain but didn’t think it was possible.
About six years ago, I learned about Adaptive Sports Association’s winter program at Purgatory Resort. I scheduled a lesson, hoping to find a way to ski again. When they showed me a skibob instead, a world of possibilities opened! I spent several years taking lessons, slowly working to rebuild muscle strength and regain confidence. Eventually, I became much better at riding than skiing. As I worked my way through every run, the mountain that had been inaccessible became welcoming to me. I had forgotten what it was like to feel joy and, when I did, it was visceral. Adrenaline, excitement, balance and social connection returned to my life, and the energy began to carry over to my other experiences.
I still deal with my illness on a daily basis, but when I ride my skibob, I focus only on what is possible and not my limitations. This sport has gotten me, literally, out of bed and into the outdoors. Doing it, I am surrounded by amazing friends and positive people, and I’m focused on celebrating life. My favorite runs now are in the trees, bumps and powder, but I also enjoy nice, long groomers.
A few years ago, I was introduced to the NASTAR program, which gives recreational skiiers, skibikers, snowboarders and adaptive racers the opportunity to compete. Now, I like to train on Purgatory’s NASTAR course on my Stalmach World Cup SX3. I attended the NASTAR National Championships in Snowmass, CO, April 4-9, 2022 and won a gold medal, which was easy since I was the only woman racing in my division. I love to race and want to recruit more riders join me on NASTAR courses throughout the country, or even on the U.S. Skibob Team!
My most rewarding role is as a volunteer instructor an adaptive sports organization. It is important to me to give back by introducing others to the sport because it can help heal in so many ways. I am passionate about teaching folks of all abilities who, like me, want to get involved in outdoor recreation, remain active, make memories with friends and family, and enjoy the mountains.
So, what do I love the most about skibobbing? For me, the swish of the snow is like riding a pillow of powder. I crave the rush that comes from having the wind in my face and moving at speed. My heart leaps as I see the never-ending smiles and the glistening eyes of my companions, and hear their laughter-filled whoops and hollers. I love the silence of a fresh snowfall, the peace that comes from being truly in the moment, and the delight of sharing that joy with others. It is, simply, exhilarating. I am excited to be a part of the U.S. Skibob Team and look forward to building a community of riders and racers of all abilities.
For Adaptive Sports Association’s program information, please visit www.asadurango.com.
Register for NASTAR at www.nastar.com.