The annual Winter Snowsports Festival provides four days of fun on the slopes for differently-abled skiers.

Snowsports fest provides opportunities for differently-abled skiers

Connor and Megan Wells are 10-year-old twins who have grown to love the sport of skiing thanks to the Winter Snowsports Festival, and the Vancouver Island Society for Adaptive Snowsports (VISAS).

The festival is an annual event for participants who are differently-abled to experience snowsports in a fun and supportive environment. Each participant is provided with four consecutive days of snowsports instruction, lift tickets and rentals — everything needed to get started on snow.

“Skiing with VISAS has become a special part of Megan and Connor’s lives,” their mother Michelle Wells said. “The program has increased their confidence and allowed them to realize that they can really be good at something.”

Megan and Connor were born prematurely, resulting in a variety of physical and developmental disabilities for both children.

“Megan tends to become overwhelmed easily, and needs breaks and ways to calm her anxiety. Connor is a very social and chatty boy, who is distracted easily and needs clear direction,” she said.

The instructors at VISAS are trained and certified to assess students and provide individualized instruction to meet their needs. While Megan benefits from regular snack breaks, opportunities to practice breathing exercises and a clear plan, Connor benefits from a different approach. He needs instruction to be delivered step-by-step, in simple terms with a dash of humour and consistent re-direction to the task at hand.

“The accessibility of the adaptive snowsports program has made the idea of learning to ski so easy,” Wells said. “The instructors are able to customize and adapt a learning strategy for [both] Megan and Connor’s needs.”

Skiing with VISAS and at the festival has helped give the twins a sense of belonging and “has really helped Megan and Connor build their confidence in their day-to-day lives as well as challenging them in ways they wouldn’t be otherwise,” Wells said. Both children have been asked to join the VISAS Snowsports Development Team when they are older, which is motivating them to keep pushing themselves to become better skiers.

The festival and VISAS have been a benefit to the Wells family, who have shown their appreciation by providing volunteer technical support at VISAS events. The family owns My Tech Guys, so the twins’ father, Bob, is more than qualified to provide and set up projectors and AV equipment, which benefits VISAS. He is also planning on becoming a volunteer VISAS instructor for the upcoming winter season.

Applications are available for the 2018 Winter Snowsports Festival, which runs from Jan. 7 to 11.

FMI: visasweb.ca, or contact Peter at peter@playsthatwork.com or (416) 363-4972.

Just Posted

Comox Valley Santa’s Workshop in need of bicycles for youngsters, gifts for teens

Santa’s Workshop, at 464 Puntledge Road (formerly the Red Cross building), is… Continue reading

Transitioning back into the world

Courtenay man had been living outdoors before starting Sally Ann program

A cuddle and a coffee: Six Island towns named among Canada’s most cozy

Sidney, Campbell River, Courtenay, Parksville, Tofino and Ucluelet crack Expedia’s top 40

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

The fair with 1,000 stories

Tibetan carpets, Ugandan bags and scarves from the Peruvian Andes were among… Continue reading

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

Mid Island Farmers Institute discusses fleece at November meeting

Are you a lover of wool and local fibre? Interested in raising… Continue reading

Comox Valley Nature invites the public to learn about nature photography

Comox Valley Nature is hosting a public lecture on photography. Join Terry… Continue reading

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

The fair with 1,000 stories

Tibetan carpets, Ugandan bags and scarves from the Peruvian Andes were among… Continue reading

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Most Read