First time CADS Festival attendee tells us about his week in Kimberly

My name is Troy Morrison. I'm a T12 paraplegic who had the privilege to attend the 2014 CADS Festival with the help of a BC Adaptive Snowsports Travel Subsidy and the CADS participant bursary. This was my first year on a mono ski but thanks to the help of Adaptive Sports at Sun Peaks and their many volunteers, it’s not going to be my last.

After a 7 hour drive from Kamloops to Kimberly, my mom and I pulled up to Trickle Creek Lodge and it was raining but I didn't let that get me down. I knew that for such an amazing opportunity, Mother Nature would treat us well and give us good weather. Sure enough, Sunday was Blue Bird! Snow was fast, spirits were high and we were all ready to shred.

The skier meeting and welcome gave me the chance to meet the people who are not only responsible for starting CADS, but all of the volunteers and instructors. You can tell they were just as pumped to be there as the participants! Paired up with my instructor Raymond Blimkie from Kemptville Ontario, I hit the slopes. It didn’t take us long to get our load timing and unload procedure down pat. Ray was very encouraging and gave great constructive criticism. After a few adjustments to the shock on my rig, I was starting to feel for comfortable on edge and got some amazing direction and instruction from Andy Van Grunsven. After a few runs with him and chatting his ear off, my progression was night and day. I can't leave out Jamie McCulloch from Rocky Mountain Adaptive Sport Centre who put on a great race program that week. I got to put my new techniques into practice and had a blast. Jamie provided great pointers to better my line choice and corner speed. The guesstimating race was one of my favourite parts of the week. Not only was the race fun but riding behind a snowmobile again felt amazing! I feel very proud to say I got a silver medal and couldn't have been more proud of my times.

After having so much fun and not even thinking that this festival couldn't get any better, Steve from HOC came from California with an Edge and a Nissan. I jumped in the Nissan bucket and hit the chair with Ray. Not only was it amazing to load on the chair, but I knew within 1000 feet that this was the rig for me.

We finished off an amazing week with a banquet that include snapshots from the week taken by Susan Hughes, a delicious prime rib dinner and silent auction.

CADS Festival was a nice finish to a great season that also included the opportunity to train with Phil Chew and the BC Para Alpine Ski Team. The organization, team work, and dedication of this team is amazing and just goes to show that no matter our disability, our drive is just as strong, if not stronger than an able body race team. They welcomed me with open arms, great pointers not only on how to ski better and faster but great rig set up pointers provided by Ben Thompson.

I'd like to finish by thanking ASSP, CADS, Kimberly Alpine Resort, my Mom, Phil Chew, Fannie Smith, Ben and Jeff Thompson, Raymond Blimkie, Jamie McCullogh, Andy, all of the volunteers for getting me out and improving my skiing. Their amazing effort, skill and support motivates me to improve and helps anyone with a disability get back on snow.

Until next time, keep the wax side down.