8 February, 2019

In Stockholm we find a ski-loving family. During a ski holiday they discovered sitski and biski – to the daughter Edith’s great joy! This article offers interesting reading about skiing for the whole family. In addition, Anneli gives advice on how to get down the ski slopes in the best way.

The family stans on the top of a mountain
The whole family!

Hi Anneli – who are you in your family?

Our family is mum Anneli, dad Johan, Kajsa 17 years old, Edith 11 and Vera 9. We live in a house in Älvsjö outside Stockholm. Kajsa is an exchange student during this year. Vera goes in 3rd grade at a school in Älvsjö and Edith goes in 4th grade at a training school in Huvudsta outside Stockholm. The school is called Heldagsskolan Rullen AB. Edith has a chromosome aberration on chromosome 14. It causes challenges for Edith in the form of, among other things, developmental disabilities, mobility disorders, low muscle tone and epilepsy.

Despite this, Edith is a lively and mischievous girl who also has a powerful temperament and is very stubborn. She is adventurous, loves speed, and easily gets bored on “an ordinary gray day”. If Edith could choose, she would spend all her time outside. Edith uses a wheelchair, but she can walk shorter distances with support and orthoses on her feet. The will to walk is big, especially if something exciting waits further on. Indoors, Edith walks with support from various walking aids, otherwise she crawls. We are an active family. Everyone, including Edith, enjoys to be in the nature, and we travel a lot together.

Edith goes down in a sitski with dad Johan behind her
Johan and Edith in full speed!

During your winter holidays Edith goes down the slopes by sitski or biski – tell us more about this!

Edith is biskiing or sitskiing down the slopes together with companion from someone in our family. It all started many years ago. We had been skiing together every winter, so it felt natural to let the kids ski too. Edith has of course been part of all our family winter holidays. While she was little she borrowed her sisters ski equipment and went in the lift and slopes with our support. And she loved it! Even though she does not communicate with words, it was clear that skiing was something almost magical for her. Unfortunately our backs did not think the same.

Edith has low muscle tone and at that time she could not walk by herself, so she really needed our support.

During one of our ski holidays in Åre we saw a sitski, and later on we found the association Totalskidskolan in Rödkullen, Åre. For the next coming ski holiday we booked ski lessons at Totalskidskolan (http://www.totalskidskolan.se/) for Edith.

Edith dressed in her ski equipment
Edith!

What do you like most with sitskiing/biskiing?

The best thing about functional alpine skiing is that we can do it together, the whole family. The first years we always had a ski instructor from Totalskidskolan with us, who acted as an accompanying person to Edith. It felt very safe and good. The ski instructors from Totalskidskolan are really something special. They are skilled skiers with much joy and humility, and with the attitude that everything is possible. After a while we wanted to go on our own, so Johan took lessons to get a license to be the accompanying person to Edith when she was going down the slopes.

The last years we have rented equipment and gone by ourselves – like any other family. It is simply amazing and completely unique compared to other activities our family appreciates. We book the equipment and choose by ourselves when, where and how much we want to ski every day. This year we took the chairlift up for the first time the whole family together. It was a breathtaking feeling and something we did not dare to hope for before!

Please tell us a little about the difference between biski and sitski!

Sitski has one ski and biski has two. Our opinion is that Edith likes both, but she has used a sitski more throughout the years. The sitski is a bit higher and since it only has one ski, it is a bit more unbalanced than the biski, but at the same time it is easier to turn.

What does Edith think of skiing?

Edith expresses herself through pictures and we have therefore helped her with the answers below:

What is the best thing about skiing?

For Edith, skiing means freedom. She is outside, which she loves. She gets to ride fast and feels the wind in her face. It tickles in the stomach and it is exciting. It also gives Edith a unique opportunity to hang out with her sisters when, for example, they play “follow John” in the slopes or take the adventure slopes in the woods. Being together with the family is very important to Edith so it feels extra good that we are doing this together.

Do you have any special memory from skiing?

Everything with skiing is special for Edith. She has a huge patience when she knows we are going to ski. There is a lot of stuff to put on: first all clothes, then the equipment which has to be put on right to cope with the speed and other strains. But Edith has learned that it is well worth the wait. The thing she loves the most is when we leave the ordinary slopes and go skiing in powder snow. It tickles in the stomach, the bumps become softer and the snow stream is lovely. When we go beside Edith, we can hear her laughter cluck with joy and it is a fantastic feeling.

Edith getting ready to ski
It is soon time to ski!

Do you have any tips for families who want to try skiing?

Dare to try! Be sure to have a good equipment regarding clothes, so nothing gets cold and wet – it is not fun if someone freezes. Edith has poor blood circulation and therefore her feet and hands easily become very cold. We have got electric heated gloves and socks to get rid of that problem. Edith has a high saliva secretion and therefore she needs small specially designed bibs which absorb the saliva. We have our pockets filled with these bibs when we go skiing, and we change after each ride so that she never gets cold.

Another tip is to assume that nothing is impossible, we know it is a cliché, but you can get very far with that attitude!

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