The event is held annually through a partnership with the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute as well as other funding agencies and partners.
Volunteer Kyle Freundschuh looks forward to the event each year.
“I think it’s one of the most fun things I do throughout the year professionally.” said Freundschuh. “I’m a pediatric physiotherapist, so I play with kids all year round and try to get them to work towards goals like walking, biking, pushing their wheelchair, sitting independently, crossing all the stages that you imagine developmentally. And when you come here, you see children who don’t participate in all the activities. Everyone can do it like everyone else. Yes, we do. let’s modify there in a monoski, but they become independent and do everything that their family members, friends do. There are no limits.
For the parents of the young participants, it is an opportunity to see their children having fun doing something that they cannot normally do.
“It’s amazing to see their faces, the confidence they’ve gained from that. And it’s really cool,” said Katie O’Groske, a mother. “I actually skied a little today, so it’s fun to be able to be here with her, which we normally can’t be.”
Monoskis are designed for people who use little or no lower body but still use the upper body heavily.
“If you’ve ever skied, you have your ski boot, your ankle is in the bottom of the boot.” explained Freundschuh. “When you look at the monarchy, their butt becomes where their ankle is, their hips come forward. So instead of having two skis under them, they have one ski under them, and that makes that they then have to initiate their hips to make their turns. and then they have what are called stabilizers on their hands. and that’s what they help guide their turns with.”
As with learning any new sport, monoskiing can sometimes be difficult.
“There are tough times because there are times when it’s frustrating and difficult, and how can you then help them coax them out and give them the ability to keep doing it when they fall, over and over. again and again,” Freundschuh said.
“It was tough, but it’s fun,” White said. “And determination, I don’t want to give up, that’s just who I am.”
“She’ll fall, get up and all the volunteers here are amazing and have really helped her with her confidence and just to keep her going,” O’Groske said of her 11-year-old.
For participants and volunteers, the Great Lake Mono Ski and Race Camp is an enjoyable experience year after year.
“We’re just grateful for everyone here back then,” O’Groske said. It’s a lot of energy, it’s a lot of work, so we appreciate it.
“I think it runs the gamut of kids here. There are really independent kids going out west skiing and developmental ski camps, and there are kids who have just hit the slope for the first time,” Freundschuh explained. “My favorite part, no matter which, is when that kid is excited to come back and do it again because it means we did our job and made them feel like they could do it. It was accessible to them. and it becomes a sport for life, that they can do it, and you have people in their 40s, 50s, 60s coming back and still skiing in the program here.