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Skiing clinic offers exercise and more

3:44 PM, Jan 19, 2012   |    comments
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The Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon Biggest Winner team is getting in shape to compete in the April 1st event.

One participants skipping her group training this week but still staying fit.

"I'm a delinquent team member this week," Edee Vaughan said.

This week Edee Vaughan is on the slopes of Beech Mountain, North Carolina instead of working out with her team training for the Knoxville Marathon.

"I am training to hand cycle the half marathon," she said.

She's committed to being ready.

"For me it's really about becoming a healthier person and having healthier habits and taking care of myself," she said.

That includes taking part in the Adaptive Ski Clinic at Beech Mountain for the fifth time.

"I have muscles that I didn't know that I had that hurt. And I'm sure they hurt last year too but I guess you forget after a year so. You know, my legs are getting a workout, my upper body is getting a workout because of the equipment that I use for skiing," she said.

A typical set up is two skis and two poles. But Edee's ski set up is a little different.

"I have outriggers is what they call them. So instead of ski poles, they're like ski poles but they have little skis on the bottom of them. So I hold on to those and they help me balance and steer and I can use them for stopping," she explained.

The Patricia Neal Innovative Recreation Cooperative (IRC) puts together the ski clinic for people with disabilities.

"I was born with spina bifida. A pretty mild case. So it effects my gait mostly. My legs are not as strong as they could be," Edee said.

This is the clinic's 31st year. Sixty five people will get 170 hours of specialized instruction from expert ski instructors.

"It's kind of like a puzzle. You're figuring out and putting pieces together in order to make that person ski," Ski Instructor Colleen Farrell explained. "So it might be trying to figure out how to flatten their foot in order to make them have a flat ski so they can make turns and use the ski effectively."

Colleen Farrell uses their ability to the max, whatever that ability is.

"You're telling them the same thing and they know it and they're understanding it and then maybe something doesn't work then finally when it does you both win. Everybody wins. That's the neatest part I think," she said.

The skiers face the same challenges, accomplishments, and fears as typical skiers.

"I think fear holds me back from getting on the highest slope here more than anything," Edee said. "Sometimes our head gets in the way, get going a little fast and you freak out and fall."

Edee appreciates the instruction and the work out. Instead of maybe an hour a day of exercise at home she's skiing for about four hours a day.

"To see what the clinic does with people with disabilities is just amazing and it is a fun way to get in your exercise," she said.

It beats the treadmill because it's exercise with a beautiful view.

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