Triple Threat Trainer

Angela Donnelly, Staff Writer

Every winter people head to higher and colder ground to engage in one of the most exhilarating winter sports, skiing. Skiing is a sport enjoyed by many students at ODA, in fact we have a whole week of school off every year–originally being to give students and their families an opportunity to hit the slopes. One student, who is particularly drawn to skiing is junior, Emma Lystad.

Emma grew up in Telluride, Colorado. She began skiing when she was only one and a half years old and has loved it ever since. It was this love of skiing that drove Emma to become a guide for disabled skiers. Emma was inspired to work with people, who had special needs, by her mother, who is a teacher for deaf children and children with special needs. Emma first began volunteering as a guide in 6th grade and really found she was passionate about this program. When asked what her favorite part of volunteering was Emma said, “I love being able to share my favorite sport with people, who otherwise would never be given the opportunity to fall in love with it.” As a guide, Emma helps blind people, deaf people, and amputees ski; she likes to call herself a “triple threat trainer.” Emma helps disabled people ski by skiing next to them, helping them hold their poles out in front of them, and just keeping them from crashing into things. Emma says he most interesting experience, as a guide was, “When I had to feel what it was like to ski with a disability.” She got a chance to ski while wearing a blindfold and use a mono ski, which is used for people who have lost a leg.

Being a guide is a great way for Emma to combine her love for skiing and her love of helping disabled people. Although Emma no longer lives in Telluride she is goes back as often as possible and volunteers every time she does. Emma loves to be a ski guide, will continue as long as long as she can ski.