Collaboration between the Young Stroke Thrivers Foundation (YST), Snow Sports NZ and Snowplanet has allowed a new generation to discover their love of snow sports.
Seven children aged between six and 12 years and all stroke survivors enjoyed a ‘Have a Go’ weekend at Auckland’s indoor snow centre on 28 February and 1 March.
Specially trained adaptive snow sports instructors were on hand to teach participants. Justin Stoddard, a New Zealand Snow Sports Instructors Alliance (NZSIA) Level Two qualified ski and snowboard instructor gained his Adaptive Level One qualification in 2013 and says he “enjoys giving people who wouldn’t normally consider snow sports as an option the chance to give it a go and change their horizons.”
The children have varying levels of disability but with one-on-one training and thanks to specialist equipment supplied to Snowplanet by Snow Sports NZ, everyone was able to improve their skills and have fun skiing.
“The group’s positive energy, effort and willingness to learn and the different organisations working together to make this possible were key to the day’s amazing success,” says YST Founder Maria Fredatovich.
Maria had a stroke at the age of 13. Now 32, she enjoys a physically active lifestyle and has a particular love of snow sports. She still has visual difficultiess, with no right side peripheral vision as well as ongoing balance and hand-eye coordination problems, but refuses to let any of this stop her doing what she loves.
Snow Sports NZ and the Young Stroke Thrivers Foundation plan to organise more Have a Go days at Snowplanet in the future.
“Days such as these help young stroke thrivers to learn that there are no limits to what they can achieve while having fun doing so,” says Maria. “It will help them build up their confidence for other exciting adaptive skiing opportunities supported by Snow Sports NZ at Cardrona Alpine Resort, Snow Farm, The Remarkables, Mt Ruapehu (Whakapapa and Turoa) and Mt Hutt.”
A selection of photos from the Snowplanet Have a Go day is available to view on the YST Facebook page: www.facebook.com/yssnz
For further information on The Young Stroke Thrivers Foundation contact Maria Fredatovich: [email protected]. Young Stroke Thrivers is a newly registered charity andwill have its official launch in July.
For further information on adaptive snowsports opportunities for athletes, parents, supporters, instructors and volunteers contact Snow Sports NZ Adaptive Manager Jane Stevens: [email protected]