An inventor on the western slope is trying to help everyone ski, particularly people with spinal cord injuries.
HAYDEN — At his workshop near the town of Hayden, Wes Dearborn has an inspiring view that has helped inspire an invention to help people with disabilities learn to ski.
“Get people out skiing again,” said Dearborn.
He has spent the last 7 years working on something he calls the “Sit Ski Trainer.”
Dearborn has gone from prototype to prototype until getting down to a compact version that simulates many of the same actions a person on a mono ski would have.
“Change the way of the progression of learning how to mono ski, giving people an opportunity to start their lesson in the trainer and then go to the real thing on the slope. I think it would up the number of success stories” said Dearborn.
Steamboat Springs resident Craig Kennedy has been helping to test the trainer and says when people first get on the snow in a mono ski, it can be a little scary.
“The scariest thing about learning to mono ski is getting in the first time and you are on slippery snow sliding around,” said Kennedy.
Which is why he likes the dry land trainer as a way to simulate the form of skiing without having to be on the snow.
“I love that this thing tips because it simulates edging,” said Kennedy.
All to make that first experience on the snow a lot more comfortable which might get more people, who don’t have the use of their legs, out skiing.
“This really does simulate skiing,”’ said Dearborn.
It’s an invention Wes has been taking to adaptive ski events so people with spinal injuries can try it out. It’s now being used at VA hospitals around the county with wounded veterans.
“I have one at the Walter Redd Hospital in Washington D.C.,” said Dearborn.
Next for Wes is maybe adding some virtual reality, which he says might make skiing more of a reality for more people.
“No one is disabled on the hill. Gravity is the equalizer,” said Dearborn.
You can learn more about the Sit Ski Trainer at innovativeadaptivetechnologies.com/products.
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