Scotty's Tips & Review

Scotty's Tips & Review

I'm Scott Wilson, a PSIA level 1 adaptive instructor since 1997. I'll be attempting level 2 certification this season. I am a T 11 paraplegic, injured 10 years ago in a motorcycle accident, who uses a Grove monoski to shuss my way down the slopes. I started monoskiing in the spring of ' 93 here in Pennsylvania, and started teaching adaptive in ' 95 at Jack Frost , PA, which is near my home in Lake Ariel. I now teach at Camelback, PA with the PA Center for Adapted Sports, a great group of volunteers, some of whom have been teaching adaptive for over 20 years. I enjoy many other activities like waterskiing, canoe/kayak, hunting and wheelchair tennis. This "Tips and Review" page should be a good way to enlighten more people with disabilities about all the fun they can have out there in adapted sports and recreation. I'll take this opportunity thank Tom, our gracious website host, and my good friend, for this chance to reach more people with similar interests. Happy Trails! See you out there!

February made me shiver...2-9-01

...except on the East coast this week. Howdy! Kind of sloppy out there this afternoon, but oh! what a week! At least a foot of heavy packy snow on Monday, which held up to the rising temps and grooming all week, with nary an icy patch exposed on the whole hill. It couldn't have worked out better; we had our DS\USA sanctioned Youth Development Camp all week, 28 amputee kids & adult chaperones from two cancer rehabs from NY and PA. We had two race instructors come in from Winter Park, as well as another from Greek Peak, and our own group of instructors. Everyone made tremendous progress on their skiing, all the beginners made it to green and even blue and black trails in three or four days. Thursday was the culmination of their training, when they all ran the slalom course in either the beginner or advanced course. It's truly amazing what these kids and adults can do, whether they were 2, 3, or 4 tracking, surviving cancer or injury or congenital birth defect, I didn't see one quitter in the bunch. The inspiration to teach is bolstered and compounded with every nice turn I saw them make. Those kids ran us all ragged trying to keep up with them out there! What am I, complaining? I got to ski my tail off, with a great bunch of folks. I have to thank Ski Windham and Greek Peak's adaptive programs for the use of some outriggers for our Camp, as well as all the instructors who helped out all week. I was skiing on my K2 Enemy twin-tip most of the week, after I ripped the binding off my K2 Merlin 5 !again! on a too high unload spot on the Terrain Park chair. grrrr! I'm tempted to bolt right through the ski and p-tex over the holes. I'm gonna beg my supervisor to rebuild the unloads on our lifts this summer instead, make them longer and higher and more gradual wherever space allows to do so. A liitle dirt would make life so much easier. Back to the twintip; what a ski! Skiing backwards and (almost) pulling a 360 was my personal skill drill every chance I got. The 360 attempt was tried at the end of nearly every run, using the last of my coast to the liftline as the momentum on nearly flat ground. I figure the flat will be the easiest place to try it, though I need the speed to have enough inertia to carry the spin through. I have pulled off some shaky ones, but I usually require a rigger plant to completely finish, and that makes it feel less than sweet. I've also cased my shoulder a couple times after catching the leading edge. Not pretty. I'm not giving up though. Another busy weekend scheduled. 4 mono lessons will keep me busy, with about a dozen other students for the rest of the crew. Happy Trails Scotty

01-28-01 Camelback

Hi folks It's been a while since I posted anything. You may have read on in Tom's review that I had a bad day on Jan. 3rd at Hunter. Read closely, there's a lesson for everyone in here. Get some spare outriggers, or at least one of each part that can break. That list includes the ski tip, ski spring, plunger spring, push pins or bolts for the length adjustments, string, string tensioner, cuff, and cuff post. Did I miss anything? Easier just to buy a spare pair. Paul Spaight at Spokes 'n Motion will love the plug I just gave him for his Superlite outriggers. So, back to the 3rd- We had just stared out on the first run of the day as the sun broke through the thinning clouds, promising an SPF 30 kinda day. We unloaded from the Quad, and proceeded directly to Hellgate, a diamond that runs down the front of Hunter. After regrouping at Mid-station, we proceeded toward Gun Hill, a fun skinny twisty blue trail. Before I could get there, I had to ski around a strange ice bump. As I went by my right rigger bounced off the bump, with enough force to snap the ski tip off just below the pivot. It must have had some stress cracks in it (look for them on yours) cuz it wasn't that hard a hit! No spare. Tom had no spare. Hunter has no adaptive equip. Short of driving to Windham, a half hour away, begging to borrow one, driving back, skiing with an unfamiliar rigger, then driving back to return it, my day was done. I bagged it, and the five hours of round trip drive, and chalked it up. To experience or stupidity, I'm not sure which. To top it off, I noticed that my shock was bottoming in every turn. The following weekend at home at Camelback, using a program spare(!) tip, I deduced that the seal on my shock was gone. It was pretty easy to tell by then, there was oil all over the frame. This brought on another headache. Grove is currently out of business, so Carrera, the shock mfr., isn't making the GRV-4 shock anymore. I had to send mine back for repair; I of course planned to do that in additiion to getting a new one overnighted( I wanna ski-he-he-he). Help! Tom!! Whaddo I do? Tom said, " Dude! You're **&&*%^$% !! Time for a new mono! Naw, you can just get a Progressive shock, and do some slight mods and be back in biz real quick." So Tom ordered two, had them shipped to me, and now there is a spare for any one who might want or need it. The mods were easy; Grind the rubber grommets flat, add metal spacers inside the grommet, sandwich the bottom grommet with fender washers. It took me about two hours. I took good care, as the shock was $162. After testing last Wed. at Montage, skying off the sides of the tabletops (3 or 4 feet of ramp is enough for my sky needs, thank you very much, !0 or 12 feet requires much more speed than I am willing to generate) I can say that it performed fairly well. I need to play with the 4 position spring adjustment a little, but I'll probably end up where it is now, on the 2nd position. The spring is a 140 to 190 lb. range, on the spare as well. The Carrera shock is still not back yet. Whew. Nasty coupla weeks. I missed the mock exam on the 13-14 weekend, as well as the exam this w/e at Killington. But things are looking up! I skiied till I couldn't any more this afternoon, by myself, just tearing up the sidewalls on Camelback's switchback trails, trying to look like an angry young snowboarder, er sumpthin. Knocking out some tension and frustrations every time I slammed back onto the slope from the sidewall. I also worked on my falling leafs (leaves?) on some blue trails with my K2 twintip. It's exhilhirating, skiing backwards looking over my uphill shoulder with the uphill rigger pointing behind me; then by dragging the uphill rigger back toward the front, while pressuring forward and rotating toward the downhill side, I can spin around pointing forward again. I can almost make it look good once or twice before I fall. I really want to take it the final step, and pull a full 360 on the snow without stopping or changing direction or looking like bird with a broken wing flapping the good one with mortal futility. It'll just take a little more guts to commit to that all- important edge change in mid-spin. And which way do I go? Start out forward or backward? I dunno yet. Whoa, how long is this message? I better quit before I really start to ramble. Talk again soon. Happy Trails

Hey gang! I need some help for a friend of mine. Paul is a t12 para who coaches high school baseball at Sayre, PA. Last year, he coached from foul territory in every J.V. game without a problem, until the day he planned to coach 1st base in a Varsity game. Before even the first pitch, the umpire told him he would have to leave the field, quoting a (discrimniating?) rule that no coach may carry anything onto the field of play, for fear of a player running into him or whatever he "carries" onto the field. Since then he has had to stay behind the fence in all the games. Paul has tried many channels to allow him access to the field; but has been unable to persuade officials to see his point. He can't give his best performance as a coach from behind the fence. What I would like to know, does anyone know of a precedence in this situation? Anywhere that a wheelchair user coaches high school baseball, or other sport, for that matter, past or present? Paul finds it hard to believe he is the first person to do so in this country, as do I. Ask around, if you don't know personally of a precedent. Any other info of how to go about this is appreciated, short of filing a lawsuit or contacting the ACLU or other org's such as that; Paul doesn't want to make a stink, he just wants to coach! Thanks everybody Scott

12-30/31-00 Camelback

Howdy! Well, another good weekend at Camelback, 3 monoskiers, a 3 tracker, and a 2 tracker all took lessons on Saturday, and Sunday we had 3 more lessons, 1 mono, and two more stand-up skiers. We got at least a foot of cold , fresh powder on Saturday, which lasted till Sunday afternoon before the multitudes scraped it all off again. I forgot to mention that my son (sorry, Nate!) skied on his new Elan PSX's on Thursday for the first time, then again on Sunday. He's 13, been skiing for three years but only on rentals before these. He loved having real edges underneath him for a change! He skied mostly by himself, but I did get a few runs with him on Sunday. On one lift ride, he asked, " Would you be mad if I told you I did a black diamond run?" (his first attempt at one) I replied, chuckling, "No, of course not. But did you ski it, or just 'get down' it?" His slightly indignant but proud reply was "I skied it!" !!! indeed. I wish I could've seen it. He was leaving me behind on the runs we took together, probably would have been the case on 'The Hump' too. Oh well, that day had to come I guess. But so soon? We'll have another busy weekend coming up, but Wednesday I'm skiing with Tom at Hunter. Hope I can keep up with him a little better this time! I pretty much have my 'skiing legs' back, I think... One tech note; I have been hanging up on the double and triple lifts sometimes on unloads. I can't figure out what the problem is, except I'm quick to blame the snow height on the unload spot. I released out of my binding twice on our Raceway triple, then I tore the darn rear binding right off my new K2 Merlin on the Sunbowl 2 double. ***^&^%%$#$@#@!! Gotta talk to Lift Ops., this is not good... Enough for now, Happy Trails

12-28-00 Camelback

Another good day of happy students at the mountain in the adaptive program here at Camelback. Our lesson in the morning was a 2nd time 10 y.o. blind student who managed his way through the Sunbowl to the Nile Mile, a long green, for a couple runs, and back across Little Ceasar and Honeymoon Lane, 2 more greens, to the lodge. A woman with neuro impairments was also 2 tracking with another instructor during the day. The afternoon lesson was a returning biski skier who tried her first shot in a monoski. Our mono was a little oversize for her, but I believe we can 'adapt' it better for her lesson with us on Saturday. Despite the equip mismatch, she linked turns and turned to a stop very well in the Sunbowl. Looking forward to 5 or 6 students for Saturday, and 1 so far on Sunday. Talk to Y'all next year!

12-24-00 Camelback

Chilly here in the Poconos! We're up to 27 trails of cold scrunchy man-made snow with 5 or 6 inches of natural thrown in for giggles. We started teaching lessons this weekend, a couple mono-skiers and a blind student made an easy entry into our season. The mono student on Saturday made it to Pocono Raceway, a big blue trail, on his very first lesson! Amazing! Or was it his teachers? Sunday's mono lesson stayed in the Sun Bowl, a beginner area, but was able to link turns on a flat ski, and made it the length of the slope without a fall on his last run. The lesson for the blind student definitely proved more challenging, with other involvements hindering balance and strength. The student was only discouraged about the fatigue, though, and is determined to make more progress this Thursday, his second day out with us. Looking forward to skiing with my son, Nathan, 13 y.o., this week while he is here for the holiday. I only see him 5 or 6 times a year; he lives across the state with his Mom. This is his third year on skis, he got an Elan PSX package deal for Christmas from my pals at Timberline ski shop, Pocono Lake, PA, so this should be his "breakthrough" year. He'll be makin' my hair fall out as I watch him pull sick aerials out of the halfpipe and other such shenanigans, no doubt. Must stop back at the shop to get him a good helmet! I'm at Camelback this Thurs., Sat. & Sun., hope I get snowed in there with the Nor'easter that's supposedly coming Friday. Pray it's all snow, not the lousy "mix" we so often get. Happy Trails Scotty

12-19-00 Camelback- more outrigger stuff

I went to Camelback yesterday, to do some more prep for the season, checking over the equipment to see if we need parts or repairs. O yeah, of course we do! Just little stuff, some parts for outriggers, tune the skis for the mono's and bi-ski's. Gotta go back today to finish that. John Swartwood, our level 3 adaptive, level 2 alpine examiner-in-training, monoski instructor came to help, and brush me up on some skills needed for my level 2 adaptive cert. quest. Basically we just skiied, all 20 of the 33 trails that are open. Mostly greens and some blacks; the blue trails are still under the snow-guns. 2.5 hours of non-stop carving, yep, we're cool! Conditions were fine, considering the deluge of rain over the weekend. I'd like to talk more about outriggers. I have done some modifications to mine, that seem to help make them more user-friendly. A couple years ago, I became tired of flipping the riggers down after pushing off. As you know, you have to pull the string, and push the riggers down on the snow to get them to the ski position. This has caused me to crash, as sometimes they will hang up or catch an edge while pushing them down. So, I took the ski tip off, trimmed a little plastic out of the way of the spring, and reversed the spring, so now my riggers flip down automatically, instead of up. I just pull the string and push the ski against my boots to flip them up, after I come to a stop. This also holds the rigger at about a 45 degree angle in relation to the pipe, instead of a right angle. That way, when you make your reach, the ski bottom is flat on the snow, instead of dragging the brake in the snow. Another mod I did was to remove the brake screw, further allowing a smooth reach. Lastly, I bent the brake (claw) up out of the plane of the snow, so it does not drag at all in the snow. It is still there for poling and maneuvering in the lift line. These mods may not be for everyone, a lot of people like the drag, it gives them a better feel for the snow. I can give more detailed notes on this, if anyone is interested in trying it, let me know. Oh yeah, one more thing I did to mine is to enlarge the hand grips, to make it easier to hold the rigger, without using a deathgrip on it. I got some aquaplast, stuff used for making splints, braces, and orthotics, which is heated to 155 degrees in water, and can then be molded to any shape. I made it longer, for my long fingers, but not fatter, as a fat grip becomes difficult for the thumb to grasp. I was forced to do this to alleviate the strain on my tendonitis (an overuse injury to the forearm muscle tendon, the lateral epichondile.) Well, I think that covers rigger mods. Talk again soon.
Happy Trails

12-18-00 Rainy days & Mondays....

Hi everybody,
Well, we had some wonderfully crazy weather here in the Northeast this weekend; Sleet, freezing rain on Saturday, followed by a torrential downpour on Sunday (nearly 3 inches of rain fell). That didn't keep us (the PA Center for Adapted Sports) from moving into our adaptive office at Camelback on Saturday, but it did force us to cancel our on-snow clinic on Sunday. Boo! If only it had been snow, I might still be stuck at the hill! I should talk a little more about the PA Center and Camelback Ski area. The Pa Center is based in Philadelphia, where they teach many types of adapted sports and recreation in the spring, summer, and fall, and they have the adapted ski (snowsports) program in the winter. They had run the program at another hill in the Poconos for many years before moving to Camelback two years ago. We now have the old Children's ski center space in the ski school building (the kids have a whole new building this year) to use for our office, work area and waiting room. Our program at Camelback can accomodate any type of disability or mode of adapted snowsports. We have a small but dedicated group of certified volunteer instructors that offer a quality adapted lesson. We handle individuals or groups. Our prices are very reasonable, $41 for a 2 to 3 hour lesson, $55 for a full day. This includes lift, lesson, and rental. For more info on the PA Center, you can visit our website,, or call Isabel Bohn at 215-765-5118. On weekends during the winter we can be reached at Camelback, at 570-629-1661 ext. 2239. Well, I hope y'all had a better snow weekend than I did. Nonetheless, Happy Trails through your holiday,

Greek Peak, NY 12-10-00

Greek Peak, was a pleasant occasion for me and my friend Ron, a "newbie", (his 2nd time on snow). He is a double amp AK- BK, who has amazing balance; he could throw the ski around like it was made of paper. Sublety is not in Ron's dictionary! Greek Peak has a great adaptive program in its 27th season that does all modes of adaptive except Bi-ski. They only recently started teaching mono there (2 yrs. ago) I hope they will add bi-ski soon. It was their adaptive training weekend there, so I went up to help train the trainers and get Ron out there as a guinea pig too. I'm trying to convince him to start teaching up there after he improves a little himself. He lives about an hour from Greek Peak, and could enjoy a lot of skiing while helping others learn. Y'all out there in the egroup might want to think about being instructors, too; your own skiing can only improve, as you learn some of the technical side of skiing in training clinics, then by conveying the info to students, you reinforce your own learning, plus you get to be on snow a ton! It can be a time-consuming pastime, which is the only drawback I can see. The best thing I have found to prevent riggers from freezing is to spray the hole and plunger with WD40 or silicone spray. Apply liberally. Don't use too heavy an oil, or they will gum up in the cold. Some days you'll have to put more on at lunchtime. This still isn't foolproof, so I keep a small screwdriver handy to poke the ice out. Sometimes if the ice isn't too hard you can push down on the plunger with your other hand to "persuade" it to go in. Try that before you dig out your screwdriver. Just a couple more things to drag to the mountain! If you want to get really technical, you can trim the curved piece of plastic beneath the plunger (on the ski) to a sharp point, to resemble a knife blade, with an Xacto knife. Then, when you manually push the plunger, it pushes the snow against the "blade"; I did this to mine, but I don't know really how effective it is, the ice often is too thick or dense to push the plunger in by hand. Well, that's it for now. Scotty

Hunter, NY 12-06-00

Yeah! Man, it really felt great to get out and DO something finally, (I've been healing tendonitis doing nothing for 6 months). Sitski Tom, his New Jersey Ski Bum pals and I had a great day despite temps in the teens; conditions were very good, only a little hardpack here and there. I tried the K2 Enemy with the modified 'boot' on my Grove frame, both performed well, though the 183cm seemed a little lacking for trying to keep up with Tom in his Rev Pro. I wouldn't have caught him with my favorite ski on either, I'm afraid... that thing just sticks to the snow and flies. The suspension on the Rev Pro really performs. Am I gonna hafta get one? Man, I can't afford a new mono! I'll just have to get a headstart on him I guess. Indeed, monoskiing proves to be the most exhilarating thing I have yet found to do out there in this big beautiful world. My first run on Wednesday had me screaming like a banshee with exuberant joyous wails as I carved some lovely bucket-dragging arcs through Hunter's excellent manmade snow on 'Belt Parkway', a long Blue groomer. (Some of the trails there are named after streets in New York City). The day quickly progressed to Black trails like ' Jimmy Heuga's Express' and 'The Cliff' and 'Way Out' and everyone's fave, 'Hellgate' !! But all too quickly, the 6 months of inactivity caught up to me after only about 12 runs, and the 'Enemy' with its fat (phat?) 75mm waist, became tough to get edge-to edge on. tip and tail are 111 and 95. So, I bagged it at 3pm, after only 3 or so hours on snow. Savin' it for another day is what ya gotta say. By thursday nite, I could feel every muscle from top to tail had been taxed! Still, I haven't felt better in months! Here are some points to ponder when you next encounter icy patches: Revert to early training; use a flat ski, and don't be ashamed to skid a turn or two to get past it, then go back to those lovely arcs we all wish for. A slightly lowered, wider stance with riggers will add confidence too. But don't forget to relax! Tensing up reduces your ability to react from a slip. Scotty

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