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From the Bunnies to the Blues: Margot learns to ski

The Progressive Access Framework we use to help people with disabilities learn to hike was honed on the ski hill!

A new page on Kennett Outdoors captures the information we have shared elsewhere on our 4 year journey to be able to ski independently with Margot. This culminated in a ski trip to Mont-Tremblant in 2021 (pictured above) where we were able to ski as a family without any support from adaptive ski instructors.

Of the various outdoors adventures we have undertaken, skiing clearly offers the most thrills. But skiing with Margot also helped to crystallize some of the principles of our evolving Progressive Access framework which we use to break down the barriers faced by people with Margot into manageable objectives with long term goals. We have to create a plan that matches Margot's evolving strength and skills (e.g., for skiing) with trails that present specific challenges (e.g., easy greens or harder blues) with the support of adaptive equipment (e.g., her snow slider) adjusted to her needs. We have to help her adjust to a greater range of conditions related to the weather (e.g., to ski even in below zero conditions), the trail (e.g., sticky or icy surfaces), her capacity at the moment (e.g., tired or excited). These pieces are described in more detail in a 2022 presentation to a national special education conference.  If we get all this right, we create just the right kind of challenge that not only increases her strength and skills, but gives her the confidence to take on more challenges, and (best of all) is just a lot of fun!!

We also came to appreciate that the Progressive Access framework applies as much to us as to Margot. Can we balance the challenges of planning? What support do we need to make this possible?  In our short youtube film, we describe how the decisions you have to make at careening at 10-15 miles per hour on the slopes create a "flow" that is truly addictive. And nothing beats having a lot of fun together!

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