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Disabled Wintersports Australia (DWA) sees the potential in Hotham365

Hotham365 indoor ski slope was utilised by Disabled Wintersports Australia (DWA), who demonstrated the use of the indoor ski slope to assist in their SIT ski training at the opening weekend launch last year.

DWA members and SIT skiers, Linken Budge and Hollie Kraken carried out demonstrations on the artificial slopes and showed how it could be introduced to help DWA members gain confidence.

Miss Kraken who has an impairment on one side and has had a few operations to rectify them has also used the artificial ski slope when she was in Melbourne, as part of her recovery to improve her strength and mobility.

Hollie’s mother, Karen said that the indoor ski slopes had “great potential” for DWA members who were starting out on the slopes.

“It’s fantastic and great for people who are beginning and learning and people with disabilities to keep up their skills, and even when it’s a horrible day outside they can still get in and have a go and from that perspective it’s great,” Ms Kraken said.

“Hollie started the indoor slopes when it was down in Melbourne and that’s how she got into skiing by having a go on it there and took to it really well – she loves it.

“We were devastated when it closed in Melbourne. After surgery, she would do physio and the only way to get her to do that was to put her back on the slopes. So, we actually used it in the long term as a form of physio,” she said.

DWA’s Resort Service Coordinator Philip Knight said that he hoped to further utilise Hotham365 in the 2017 winter season, with members who are new to disabled wintersports and who would benefit in building their confidence before taking on the real slopes.

“The advantage of Hotham365 is that our skiing can be quite daunting, particularly for new beginner skiers,” Mr Knight said.

“They come up and they’re not only learning to ski and seeing the new equipment, but they’re out in the elements, getting hale in their face, in poor conditions, and they’re relying on loading a chairlift which is hard if you are new.

“The use of the indoor ski slope is that its weighted to more gradually introduce. So, you could get a stand-up kid with a cognitive disability to just hang onto the bar and get a feel for it and put it on nice and slow,” he said.

Mr Knight said that DWA were “keen” to expand their activities and training into the green season and saw Hotham365 as an opportunity to mix up their training.

“It’s quite hard to schedule our guide training because if you do it too early you get no snow and you can’t do much, but if you do it too late we don’t have the guides to meet the demand, so we can use it more for out-of-season training.”

Other users of Hotham365 include the Alpine School based in Dinner Plain, who have been using it over the green season as a learning activity for the students, many who have never skied before. Ski Fit Training, who is a group based out of Harrietville, recently included Hotham365 into their training in May.

For more information on about Hotham365 and how you can include it into your own training click here

23 June 2017