Saturday, February 22, 2014

Adapted Skiing- The Essentials


Hello! As a follow up to our post earlier this week about adapted snow skiing we wanted to share our picks for essentials on the slopes.  We think these will make your ski experience even better!To see our list on Amazon just click the link to head over! 

1.Goggles: Apparently if you buy this brand you will look like a mountain tough bada** like this guy. In any case a good pair of goggles will help fight sun glare and keep your eyes dry. Look for anti fog.
2.GoPro Rugged Camera:  Make to pick up a Headstrap Mount + Quick Clip  and you can easily capture all the action to share with friends and family! Comes in a variety of styles and price points.
4. Cold + Wind = chapped skin. We use this combo of hand lotion  and lip moisturizer every day and love it!
5. Football fans already know how awesome HotHands Hand Warmers  are. You can slip them in your gloves an in your boots to stay toasty warm! 
6. A snack that you can carry easily can be very helpful to get you through the day. We really likeLuna Bars ! All their flavors are great, but this one...well, it's chocolate

So, tell us- do you ski? What do you have to have when you do? Please share! 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Basic of Adapted Snow Skiing


Hello! I am so excited to be here to talk about one of my favorite winter activities- snow skiing! For the past 8 or 9 years I have gone skiing and I love it so much. Every year I wish I had more time for skiing, but sadly.....that has not happened yet. Have you ever tried adapted skiing? Did you even know that was a thing? I thought I would share with you a few of the basics so you can decide that you want to try it this winter-because you do, trust me. I am by no means an expert, and you should definitely chat with your local facility to learn more, but this is what I have learned from my experience!  

Types of skis:
Most kinds of what are called ‘sit skis’ start with some kind of ‘pod’ that the skier gets into. It kind of looks like the aisle chair you use on an airplane to get to your seat if you can’t walk. The difference is the ‘bucket’ part sinks in so your ‘bucket’ can sink in nice and snug. It also has more structure at the feet end and lots of straps that can be adjusted to fit you and keep you attached to your ski, if you….ahem, fall.  Next you can either ski ‘tethered’ or ‘untethered’. The means a qualified instructor will attach himself to your ski via a strap to help control your ski. He/she can control you a little or  lot, depending on your need and general daredevil skills!
From there you can have either:

Mono Ski: has only one ski underneath. This one generally works for someone with better upper body strength (but not always) and requires the skier to do most of the work, balancing and steering.  Here’s what I look like all strapped into my mono ski:

I know what you’re thinking- I look like a professional, right? However, one trip down the slope with me and you will see that clearly, I am not.

Bi Ski: has two skis underneath. Provides a little more balance. Can be a good ‘starter ski'. Skier still has some control of steering and balance, using the ski poles.  Here’s a friend of mine strapped into her bi-ski:

Standing ski:  For people who can walk there are a variety of devices available to help balance you and keep you upright while skiing. I found this picture to help you visualize this set up.

Adaptive Sports Foundation,  Wounded Warriors Event, Windam Mountain, NY; 8/10/2013
source 


Important to remember: Everyone’s needs are different and each ski facility will have it’s own set up and equipment. Don’t use this as your only guide-ask lots of questions! Make sure you know what you need and what you want before you head out to the hill.

Where to go:
There are dozens of great adapted ski programs around the country. Here in Louisville we are super lucky to have two really excellent programs within easy driving distance! Perfect North Slopes and Mad River Mountain are local to us and I have been to both. I can highly recommend both programs! Keep in mind- most facilities may not have instructors available 24/7. It’s important to contact the hill you want to visit and see what kind of staffing they have.

What to wear:
Layers are your friend when skiing. You want some waterproofing, some warming, some easy access for bathroom breaks = ). Here’s what I have done for years and highly recommend, along with a few brands I have used or heard really good things about:

Layer 1: moisture wicking, close fitting layer. Something to help trap heat and wick sweat away to prevent you getting cold. I wear my fancy long johns and thicker compression socks for this layer.
Layer 2: waterproofing over my compression socks (and my foot braces) I put plastic bags to prevent snow from getting in. I don’t have adequate feeling in my feet to tell me if they are wet. Wet + cold + hours outside = a great chance for frostbite and general skin unhealthiness. My mother started this as a kid, I would put on bread bags right over my socks.
Layer 2-A: Warmth. For me this is about covering as much as possible. A turtle neck, sweatpants and another layer of socks (regular gym socks work for me, just something to hold the plastic bag on!)
Layer 3- Waterproofing outer layer. This is time for the big guns. A good pair of waterproof snow pants is essential. Believe me when I tell you that the snow that get into the sides of your pants when you fall over in the snow can make (me) you highly annoyed. And don’t get me started on snow down the neck of my jacket…..wear a scarf. I really like bib overall style snow pants for keeping snow out .  A good hat (tight enough that is stays on while you are flying!), a scarf that you can wrap around your neck  (or, I just wear a turtleneck), and a nice warm coat. The coat should be warm, (maybe a down filled one?) but not too bulky. Bulky will make it harder to be in your sit ski comfortably. Gloves are important to me and they should be to you. Waterproof, and with the end of the glove long enough to tuck into your jacket. Snow in jacket sleeves is also highly annoying. Last is footwear. Boots are best, but high top sneakers work well, too. Keeping your feet dry and warm can make a huge difference.

Last bits of advice:
- Bring a friend! Many programs will allow a ‘companion skiier’. Don’t think you’ll have to be separated from your friends and family
- You.Will.Fall. You will get snow in your face. You may even have an epic crash with another skier. It’s all a part of the experience, right? So, embrace it and know that you may come home with a bump or a bruise and a really great story! (I may or may not know this from experience)
- Bring water and a snack. In my experience getting to and from the ski lodge can be hard, but a quick drink of water and a granola bar can help tremendously.
- Wear sunscreen and chap stick. Even though it’s winter you can get a little sunburned and chap lips come from cold wind in your face.




Thanks for stopping by! Have you skied before, share your advice for newbies who may read this. Are you a ski instructor? Leave us a link so that we can come visit you someday! 

Cheers,
Michelle

Links:
Perfect North Adaptive Snow Sports
Mad River Mountain- Ohio
The Adaptive Adventure Sports Coalition

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Adventures With The Sandlot Man- Chase Field, Minute Maid Park, McAfee Stadium

Episode #1: The West Wing
                      
Houston, TX: Minute Maid Park
 Hello Jack here and I’m back again fellow travelers! My first post lands me in the western part of the United States, our first stop is Houston Texas and Minute Maid Park: home of the Houston Astros. As we wandered the streets of Houston, we decided that this city was humongous but very appealing to a person in a wheelchair, as the streets were very smooth and easy to get around. We also recognized that there was a lot of speed trains to get around. I did not get in one, not sure you can trust it if you have a big wheelchair? They do have Metro Rails that are accessible if the speed trains don’t work.

One part of the speed trains the rails had water through it which was pretty awesome. 

Our seats at Minute Maid Park were top in our list as best ever!  We were literally behind the home plate! While I was there I got to meet some of the executives, one who also uses a wheelchair. He actually gave me his business card  and told me to email him what I thought of this stadium,compare it to other stadiums. I did which was very cool.
 So to wrap Houston, TX in a nut shell I would say it’s very accessible overall and would be a great city to travel in a wheelchair or not. 
Houston 9/10

 Phoenix, AZ: Chase Field
       Next stop landed me in the hot desert of Phoenix, Arizona. Phoenix did not disappoint in the heat factor I can tell you that off the bat. One day we walked around for about an hour until I saw that the heat index was 104 degrees, we decided not to get a heat stroke and we headed back to our hotel. Our hotel Kimpton, was very nice and I definitely recommend staying here. The first reason is that the people working there couldn’t have been nicer and if you wanted your dog to stay with you- no problem! It’s a dog friendly hotel they have a dog station with food and water for any dog to eat! If you have kids they’ll send him/her own with their own pet goldfish. Kimpton also as a great location- it is literally right across the street from Chase Field.

Now for the ballpark Chase Field: home of the Arizona D-Backs! In my opinion this park wasn’t the greatest and I’ll tell you why. The handicap seats are really inconvenient. You can’t see the whole game because if there’s a pop fly or something you can only see the player catching it or it dropping cause when the ball’s in the air your view’s getting blocked by the second deck and let me tell you that’s not the only time it’s happen.

Overall Phoenix is a great city to get around in a wheelchair, stay at the Kimpton, but don’t go in July or August. 

Ball park 8/10. Kimpton 10/10

Last and NOT least...

Oakland, CA: McAfee Colleseum 
Our final destination landed us in a dump called Oakland California. Sure the bay is pretty and all but once you make in to town you will change your mind about the city. The only thing that saved the trip to Oakland was going to Pixar Animations Studio which was a blast cause we got meet some great people like John Lasseter (director of Toy Story and head of Pixar and owner of 150 or so Hawaiian shirts). Also we got to meet UP’s director and producers. We didn’t really walk around Oakland for safety reasons.

 McAfee Stadium: home of the Oakland Athletics. We were very disappointed cause it was very small and not very nice. In a nut shell for Oakland. Just go on game day and leave. 

City and ball park 3/10 Pixar 11/10.
Pixar Studios (according to their site, they do not offer public tours, but you should send them an email!)

Have you ever been to either McAfee, Chase or Minute Maid? What did you think of my review, what was your experience? Let me know in the comments!!


Until next time… you stay classy.