Imagine the thrill of skiing a slalom course, the adrenalin rush as you turn by the gates! Now imagine what that experience would be like if you ski on one leg, ski in a sit ski, or you are a skier who is visually impaired or behaviorally challenged.
The Carter Classic Memorial Dual Slalom is an annual fundraiser for Silver Star Adaptive Snow Sports (SSASS) and offers this thrill to anyone willing to give it a try. The event is open to teams consisting of able-bodied skiers and skiers with disabilities.
Based at Silver Star, SSASS is a volunteer-run organization of trained instructors who are matched to students with disabilities so they can learn and enjoy the thrill of skiing or snowboarding. Lessons are scheduled throughout the winter and are also offered to out-of-town guests with disabilities who are visiting the resort. Once during the season SSASS invites the public to join them for the Carter Classic. This year’s event is set for Feb. 21.
“The Carter Classic is a great event,” said Andy Mather, co-chairperson for the past 13 years. “It brings the public, the resort and SSASS together for a really amazing day.
“It gives our students an opportunity to ski on a team in a race-like environment and have fun with others.”
The name Carter Classic acknowledges the founding family of The North Okanagan Disabled Ski Association now known as SSASS. It is held in memory of Danielle Carter, one of the first students, who passed away in 2001, and her mom Donna Carter who organized the first funding and training of volunteers.
Silver Star is a huge sponsor for the event, setting up the course on lower Big Dipper, providing the timing equipment and everything else needed for a real ski/snowboard event. Other sponsors are Quickturn Production Machining Ltd., the Heidi Lussi Real Estate Team and Dugas Law.
“We are looking for teams of three or four participants who will be matched with an adaptive team member,” said this year’s organizer Laurie Spearin. “No racing skills are required and everyone has a chance to win. It is a ‘guesstimation’ event where you match your guessed time with your actual time. So it doesn’t matter if it takes 30 seconds or five minutes to do the course.
“I’d like to see some local business teams challenge each other for best time guesstimates, or head-to-head races down the dual slalom course, or best costumes.”
At the luncheon reception, prizes are awarded for best individual and team guesstimations, best costumes, best wipe-out and the most funds raised by a team and an individual. As part of the entry fee, team members are requested to collect donations to help support SSASS programs.
Buffie Moir has participated in the Carter Classic with her family several times.
“My boys love the Carter Classic,” she said. “They are trained ski racers who take every opportunity to ski a slalom course. But mostly they are amazed by the participants with disabilities and what they can do despite their challenges.
“The way the race is organized, everybody, regardless of their ability, can go out and have a lot of fun.”
Logan Leach, 12, is looking forward to his third Carter Classic, calling the event “awesome.”
His mom Kim said she was excited but nervous the first time Logan took part.
“Logan (who is visually impaired) gets to experience the thrill of a real slalom course,” said Kim.
To sponsor a skier, participate on a team, or find out more about SSASS, visit www.ssass.bc.ca, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-260-3737.