The Rocky Mountain Wonderland for Athletes with Disabilities
When the powder falls in Bozeman, champion skiers and kids with autism alike make the pilgrimage to Eagle Mount to perform at their peak.
Lying in the snow on a blazingly bright winter day, Tristin Lowe chats softly with her charge, James “Jed” Harvey, who is splayed out on his stomach, refusing to move. Attempts to stand him up result in a wet-noodle slump back onto the groomed corduroy at the top of the ski slope. Jed, who has Down syndrome, insists that he doesn’t want to ski. Problem is, he’s at the top of the lift and needs to get back to the bottom.
After half an hour in the cold, Tristin and her teaching partner, Ewout VanderWende, relent and allow Jed to remove his skis. Luckily, a mid-mountain lodge is nearby. After a break beside the fieldstone fireplace, the trio pull on their jackets, gloves, and helmets and head back out. A snowball fight ensues, and soon Jed is back in skis and flying down the mountain after Tristin, both shouting joyously with outstretched arms. When they arrive at the bottom, Jed pulls Tristin and Ewout in for a side-by-side hug, then they head to the Eagle Mount hut for a hot cocoa.
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