By Jon Anderson, CMARS Intern
For many the involvement in skiing or snowboarding provides a sense of identity, community and an outlet for maintaining physical health. For some, maintaining a connection with skiing and snowboarding culture requires overcoming adversity. Christopher, a 31-year-old community member, and first-year Crotched Mountain Accessible Recreation and Sports (CMARS) participant, provides an excellent example of rediscovering the benefits of being a snowboarder.
In January 2010, Chris was involved in a severe car accident and sustained a traumatic brain injury. For many years Chris’s leisure time consisted of sedentary activities like listening to music and playing video games. After ten years of separation from a lifelong passion, Chris signed up for snowboard lessons with CMARS.
The lessons challenged Chris’s flexibility, functional strength, endurance, and balance. The lessons also created opportunities to solve problems, delay gratification and set goals.
He had consistently rejected the opportunity to quit, regardless of the challenge snowboarding presented to him. Chris desperately wanted to advance from the learners’ area and access the chair lift to higher terrain like he once had done.
“My feet are tired, my legs are sore, but this is all going to be worth it,” Chris said, as he rested in the snow to catch his breath.
Before rising to his feet, he exclaimed: “I am a snowboarder!”