On March 2 and 3, Chugai was a special sponsor of the Chugai “Chair Ski Class to be Enjoyed by Parents and Children,” organized by the Japan Chair Ski Association. This event, now in its fourth year, offers children with disabilities the opportunity to experience and enjoy chair skiing with their families. Employee volunteers arrived the day before the event, received instruction in serving as chair guides from the Japan Chair Ski Association and Neige, a ski school for those with disabilities, and then prepared to welcome the participants.
Over the two days of the class, 13 participants skied with their friends and guides, each practicing at their own pace. On the second and final day, each of the participants showed off the results of their practice under the watchful eye of everyone present, each skiing toward the goal they had set for themselves. Their families and the staff who served as their guides offered heartfelt applause at the earnest look on the children’s faces as they whooshed downhill.
Comments from the participants included, “I’m so happy to have learned how to ski and can now enjoy myself on the slopes with my family,” and “I want to practice even more so that I get even better.” With the proper equipment and support, everyone can enjoy skiing. And enjoying the sport with others leads to even greater mutual understanding.
(Feedback from an employee volunteer)
I took care of a 10-year-old girl with muscle weakness in her lower body due to cerebral palsy. I got the impression that her disability was more severe than that of other participants her own age, who got around just fine in their wheelchairs, and thought I would probably just end up pushing her along on a bi ski,* like pushing a handcart. *Bi ski: A relatively stable chair ski equipped with dual skis.
Her goal, though, was to ski alongside her able-bodied twin sisters, and she figured out how to work the outrigger controls even with her minimal grip strength. Constantly repeating, “I’m going to ski by myself,” she worked hard and showed no signs of fatigue. By the second day, she had gotten good enough to ski swiftly along the rope guideway. She smiled brilliantly as she described her love of Western music, dramas and novels, and her dream of maybe becoming a screenwriter. I felt ashamed that my first thought on meeting her was that she couldn’t possibly ski, but I also realized the importance of figuring out a way to make something possible. (Volunteer employee)
Chugai will continue to offer its support for making chair skiing available for even more to enjoy.