James Colt, First Powder Day

James Colt, First Powder Day

James Colt began skiing with the Telluride Adaptive Sports Program last season. In the Autumn of 2006, James had just finished a two pitch climb in Ophir, Colorado, when he was struck by a large chunk of falling rock, which resulted in a serious traumatic brain injury. A long and painful recovery left him with extensive paralysis of his entire right side. In view of his injuries, his progress at the beginning of last ski season was remarkable, but related injuries prevented him from continuing- a major disappointment for him (and for me, as I had been his instructor).

Over the Summer, James put in countless hours on his rehab, including huge miles on his recumbent 3-wheeler, and an equally impressive number of miles walking. At the end of November, 2008, we began again: a full day learning again to maneuver in ski equipment that had once been so familiar, and beginner work on the Magic Carpet.

From the Magic Carpet, we moved to skiing on Meadows on the second day. Taking into consideration the early end of last year's season, we had agreed to take it slow, build up the specific skiing muscles. So the progress was not a quick as last year, but every day we were out, James was up for adding one more challenge, one more step on the ladder. His courage has been inspiring to those of us fortunate enough to witness his journey. Imagine the strength it takes to confront the fear of falling or of being hit, with the memories his accident so fresh in his mind.

On Wednesday, 17 December 2008, James skiied the Alta run on Telluride's Chair 5 area for the second time, but this time there was about 3 or 4 inches of fresh powder. The smile on James' face at the end of that run says it all.

Last week when Revelation Bowl opened, there was one face missing when the ribbon was cut. But my bet is that James will one day make it to the top.

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