COLD LAKE - Located right outside of Cold Lake in the M.D of Bonnyville, Kinosoo Ridge Resort offers inclusivity and accessibility in the world of winter sports.
At the heart of this initiative is Chris Holoboff, a part-time ski instructor and vice-president of the CADS (Canadian Adaptive Snow Sports) Alberta Board of Directors. Holoboff has dedicated his retirement to making snow sports accessible to individuals of all abilities.
The CADS program that has partnered with Kinosoo Ridge Resort focuses on providing skiing and snowboarding opportunities for people with disabilities across Canada. Holoboff explains the CADs program is volunteer-based and not-for-profit.
“Alberta has one of the largest and strongest programs in the country, with zones in Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Lethbridge, here in Cold Lake, and a number of other communities.”
The program caters to individuals with a wide range of disabilities, from visual impairments to paralysis and cognitive challenges. Holoboff describes adaptive techniques such as the "three-point ski" for below-the-knee amputees and modifications for those with lower body weakness. Adaptations allow participants to experience the thrill of skiing and snowboarding regardless of challenges.
The program mainly relies on volunteers to assist in helping people with disabilities do snow sports. Volunteers for the program take part in instructor training, along with an extensive certification program, and teaching clinics.
Recruiting and retaining volunteers and the associated training costs pose ongoing obstacles.
“It's difficult in the sense that CADS Alberta, like most of the CADS programs in Canada, are volunteer based,” says Holoboff. The CADS program provides training at the local and provincial levels, reaching out to different zones to ensure volunteers are adequately equipped to assist participants.
“Training is definitely a must, especially if you're using adaptive equipment, it’s important knowing how to use it and how to modify it for the individual,” he adds.
Holoboff elaborates on the array of adaptive equipment available at Kinosoo Ridge Resort, providing a spectrum of options tailored to individual needs and skill levels.
Junior Bi Ski - Among the five sit skis, there's a specially designed junior bi ski for younger enthusiasts. The bi ski, featuring two mounted skis at the bottom, offers added stability, ensuring a secure and enjoyable experience for little ones.
Adult Bi Skis and Mono Skis - Kinosoo Ridge Resort caters to various skill levels with two adult bi skis and two mono skis. The adult bi skis provide a stable platform, while the mono skis, equipped with a single mounted ski at the bottom, present a more challenging option for those seeking an advanced skiing experience.
Snow Slider - The snow slider is an upright frame that allows skiers to support themselves on their own skis. This innovative equipment, complete with handles for stability, becomes particularly useful for individuals with lower body weakness. Although it requires the assistance of a couple of instructors, the snow slider adds an element of fun to the skiing experience.
Outriggers - Acting as the equivalent of crutches with miniature skis at the ends, outriggers serve as indispensable tools for individuals seeking additional support during their skiing adventures. These aids empower skiers to maintain balance and confidently navigate the slopes.
Snow wing - This specialized equipment is primarily useful for individuals with balance issues or disabilities who wish to learn snowboarding. Worn around the waist with a substantial hoop, the snow wing allows instructors to guide and support the student through the learning process.
Holoboff finds immense satisfaction from working with children with disabilities, who make up the majority of program participants.
“I enjoy working with kids that have disabilities. It's just it just brings great joy to them and that in turn you know kind of lights us up,” he says.
Holoboff extends a warm welcome to individuals of all ages and abilities, ensuring that everyone can enjoy winter sports.
Those interested in registering for CADS program, or volunteering, can reach out to Holoboff at 780-207-1152 or email [email protected] for more information.