After initial pain, depression and emotional turmoil, most folks that suffer from disabilities—decide to get on with living. They express themselves in a variety of ways. Such movies as “My Left Foot” with Daniel Day Lewis and other remarkable stories inspire the handicapped. I personally met Eric Weinmayer, the first blind man to summit Mount Everest and the seven highest peaks on all seven continents. His story provides inspiration to every human being on the planet.
On one of my cross continent bicycle trips, I met Bob Wieland, the only man in history to walk across America on his hands coast to coast. Why on his hands? He didn’t have any legs because they were blown off in Vietnam. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, he decided to live a life full of adventure. To this day, that moment that I spoke with him in the desert south of Socorro, New Mexico, I have been inspired and appreciative of my life every day of my existence. It took me three months on a bicycle. It took him three years, eight months and six days to finish his trip across America. (You can read about the encounter in: “Bicycling Around the World: Tire Tracks for Your Imagination” by Frosty Wooldridge; also in the November/December 2008 issue of Adventure Cyclist” titled “Hands Across America”) Additionally, since that encounter he hand-cycled across America coast to coast, twice, and has completed many marathons and the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii.
For the past 17 years, I have volunteered as a ski instructor at the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park. In that time, I have taught students from eight to 80 how to ski, how to fly down a mountain. At the same time, they inspired me to greater courage and personal perspective.
Therefore, I urge any reader that might know a disabled friend or family member that yearns for greater self expression, to contact www.nscd.org in Winter Park, Colorado. Ph. 303 316 1518 or 970 726 1518 for more information on winter and summer programs.
“The National Sports Center for the Disabled is one of the best-known outdoor therapeutic recreation agencies in the United States for the past 39 years. Children and adults with disabilities have looked to the organization for hope and encouragement. Each year, they take to the ski slopes, rivers, mountain trails and athletic fields to learn more about sports and themselves. With specially trained instructors and its own adapted equipment lab, the NSCD can accommodate individuals with physical, cognitive and emotional diagnoses.”
During the winter, we teach blind, amputees, TBIs, CP, MD, MS, PD and most other conditions. Over 800 volunteers give personal attention to every student.
In the summers, students may horseback ride, sail, bicycle, raft, canoe, kayaking, fly fishing and camp in the Rocky Mountains by a white water stream. Winter Park offers motorcycle rallies, painting classes by renowned Karen Vance, bicycle races, outdoor concerts and unending events from soccer to tennis to golf.
Most of all, from the volunteers, you will find someone that cares about your life, cares about your success and cares about making a great day on the slopes for you as you fly down a mountain on a bi-ski or mono-ski or three track. You can learn to bicycle-ski! You’ll enjoy great food, fun conversation and fellowship.
As my friend John Muir said, “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”
Come to Winter Park during its glorious ski season or visit when the summer wildflowers blanket the flanks of our mountains with a rainbow of colors. We volunteers will be there for you and your family to enjoy the best of life and to live your dreams.
The summer—no sweeter than ever;
The sunshiny woods all athrill;
The grayling aleap in the river,
The bighorn asleep on the hill.
The strong life that never knows harness;
The wilds where the caribou call:
The freshness, the freedom, the farness—
Oh God! How I’m stuck on it all. Robert Service
Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents – from the Arctic to the South Pole – as well as six times across the USA, coast to coast and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece. He presents “The Coming Population Crisis in America: and what you can do about it” to civic clubs, church groups, high schools and colleges. He works to bring about sensible world population balance at www.frostywooldridge.com