Special Olympics Winter Games 2018

Special Olympics Winter Games 2018

I was offered the chance to volunteer time to help with the 2018 Special Olympics Winter Games at Perfect North Slopes through a partnership with them and my employer, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, and I enthusiastically accepted. I have never been to any Special Olympics event prior nor have I been to Perfect North Slopes so I was able to accomplish two new things at one time. Here are my thoughts on it:

The event

I have heard from others that Special Olympic athletes at work can be very inspiring to witness. I’d say this mirrored my experience as well. From a personal level it was uplifting to see each participant challenge themselves to accomplish a goal whether it be a better race time or an attempt at a harder ski run. Watching them inspired me to push myself a little bit harder as well. I also enjoyed interacting with the athletes as it afforded me an opportunity to be around them that I don’t normally get. Seeing their enthusiasm was highly contagious.

Pizza slices

I’ll share one of the athlete’s stories in particular. Jane (changed name), passed my station a few times. She came to my attention because each time she passed me I’d hear her yell “woo-hoo” as she finished a run. Evidently she was advancing quickly and her ski instructor took her down progressively harder runs. We were finishing up at our station when I look up and see Jane barreling down the advanced ski slope. She was gaining speed when I heard her instructor yell “pizza slices!”, which is the universal call to close the front points of the skis inward in order to decelerate.

Unfortunately at the speed she was going the only way to safely slow down was to carve to the side. Crossing her skis caused her to lose her balance and flip forward, sending her barrel rolling down the hill. Her skis flew off into the air and her shirt came up, causing her to make direct skin contact with the course mixture of snow and ice. She came to a stop and remained lying down.

Fearing the worst we ran to her hoping that she hadn’t broken any bones or dislocated any joints. When we finally got close to her, she rolled over on her butt, looked up at us, and yelled “woo-hoo!” We helped her to her feet and she had the biggest grin on her face. “That was fun” she yelled at us.

Watching Jane try that run and remaining positive after her crash was a metaphor for how I want to live my life. Put maximum effort into challenging yourself and if you fail, get up with a huge smile on your face and try again.

 

The venue

I was thoroughly impressed with Perfect North Slopes . I have heard many good things about it, namely the quality of their snow tubing facility and how much fun that is on a weekend night with a group of friends. As far as the ski park side I saw a few interesting runs and challenging technical courses that would be fun to try. The Lodge was also pretty chill and had a full walk up service counter and drink bar inside and a set of gas fireplaces that you could hang around. This would be a fun and relaxing place to spend a day at for sure.

One piece of advice I was given by an employee I met was to ensure that your skis are thoroughly waxed to get the most out of the texture of the snow. He also suggested coming during the week in order to have the place to yourself, which is best when you’re trying to learn. As it’s conveniently located off of state route Indiana 1, which meets I-275 in Lawrenceburg IN, it’s not really that far out of the way if you live or work in Northern Kentucky. I’ll definitely keep this information filed away under the “to-do” list category. I think I’ll also bring my son out to learn when he’s of age so he can enjoy it too.

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