Disability proves no barrier for 12-year-old Kelowna sit skier

Samuel is a 12-year-old double leg amputee who independently sit-skis

For most people, the sensation of wind rushing through their hair is often taken for granted.

However, for people who rely on a wheelchair to live, the simple pleasure of such a common experience can be life changing.

Few people know this better than Samuel Peters, who spent the first seven years of his life either being carried by his parents or in a wheelchair.

Born requiring an above-knee amputation to both his legs, Samuel has spent the past six years learning how to sit-ski thanks to Powder Hounds and People in Motion, a non-profit organization with more than 60 volunteers who give people with sensory or physical disabilities the chance to enjoy the sport of skiing with adaptive equipment.

“As you can imagine, with the mobility difference feeling the wind in your hair is something that’s really rare,” said Samuel, who is now 12 years old.

Unlike able-bodied children who can freely participate in extracurricular activities, the number of programs tailored toward disabled children in the Okanagan is limited.

In 2019, through the work of the Community for All Action Plan, the City of Kelowna was recognized as an age-friendly B.C. community from the province’s ministry of health.

The plan not only targets senior citizens, but includes helping children with diverse abilities, however, there are still very few programs tailored to kids living with disabilities.

“There are sports classes here and there but they’re usually tailored towards adults, which makes sense because there are typically are more adults in wheelchairs than kids,” said Samuel’s father Steven.

READ MORE: Kelowna receives accolades for accessibility and inclusivity

READ MORE: Kelowna autism program to end due to lack of funding

“It all started when we had one of the Powder Hounds volunteers approach my wife and I while we were shopping for groceries and tell us about the services they were providing.”

For many adaptive skiers, sit-skiing is not an individual sport.

It’s a sport that requires the support of a strong and knowledgeable team at every stage of learning.

“We were actually very nervous to start at first because Sam was little at the time,” said Steven.

From rolling his way through life to shredding fresh powder, Samuel has improved tremendously since his first time hitting the slopes in 2014.

“It was a challenge, everything was brand new. Even just sitting upright and maintaining balance was new for me,” said Samuel.

“I like activities I can overcome and get really good at.”

The volunteers at Powder Hounds started Samuel out fairly simply. Once he started using his own outriggers, which help him steer his sit-ski, he continued to progress.

“He then upgraded to using a tether. A tether allows a volunteer to steer or stop him if it is really necessary and just last year he graduated from the tether, so now he’s independently skiing for the first time this season,” said Steven.

Like many individuals with diverse abilities, Samuel doesn’t think what he is doing is inspiring, but instead believes he’s just trying to do something other people do in a different way.

Samuel said he plans to continue improving his sit-skiing skills and maybe tackle a few jumps when he’s older.

“It’s all about going faster and trying to have a really good time in a safe way.”

ALSO READ: A healing journey at Arion Therapeutic Farm


Natalia Cuevas Huaico
Social Media Co-ordinator/ Reporter, Black Press Media
Email me at Natalia.CuevasHuaico@blackpress.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

On Nov. 8, 2017 as the search was called off, white tents and black privacy fencing were no longer visible at the Sagmoen farm in Silver Creek and fewer police vehicles were present. (File photo)
Several police vehicles seen at and around Sagmoen farm in Shuswap Thursday night

RCMP at Silver Creek property where the remains of an 18-year-old Vernon woman were found in 2017

The Downtown Vernon Association is requesting free parking on Saturdays in 2021 to boost recovery efforts of businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)
Free Saturday parking in Vernon must wait for budget talks

Downtown Vernon Association request to boost shopping local amid pandemic

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Crime up 31 per cent in Vernon in 2019: Statistics Canada

Increase includes a 45 per cent rise in violent Criminal Code violations

City of Vernon councillors vote in favour of extending opportunities to activate outdoor spaces and patios until Oct. 31, 2021, in its Oct. 26, 2020, meeting of council. (City of Vernon - Contributed)
Vernon patio season extended amid COVID-19

City extends temporary measures to boost local businesses downtown

Four staff members at the Okanagan Men’s Centre have tested positive for COVID-19 since Oct. 23, 2020. (Adult and Teen Challenge OMC photo)
Four positive COVID-19 cases at Okanagan Men’s Centre

Those affected are staff and have been in isolation since Oct. 23

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Superintendent of the Kelowna RCMP, Kara Triance. (Capital News file)
Non-violent crime, small population contributes to Kelowna’s crime rate spike, says RCMP

Kelowna RCMP is assuring the public the city is a safe place

A Tuesday Oct. 27, 2020 apartment fire in Penticton killed two and displaced dozens more. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Fatal Penticton apartment fire deemed accidental

The blaze gutted an apartment building on Tuesday morning, killing two people and displacing dozens

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports seven more COVID-19 cases

Eighty-nine cases remain active, none of whom are currently hospitalized

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

This Photoshopped version of the crosswalks near the entrance to the Salmon Arm Arts Centre on Hudson Avenue show what is proposed to help create safety for and show inclusivity to the LGBTQ2S+ community. (Salmon Arm Arts Centre image)
Tri-rainbow crosswalk and Progress flag requested to help make Salmon Arm safe

Council will consider budget requests to help make city inclusive to LBGTQ2S+ community

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Animal care manager Tracy Reynolds confirmed the lynx is the same wildcat that was spotted wandering North Kamloops in broad daylight on Sunday, Oct. 25. BC Wildlife Park.
Lynx found wandering Kamloops taken to BC Wildlife Park

While the lynx’s outward appearance was deemed normal, it actually had an abdominal infection

Most Read