Rocky Mountain Road Trip
By Jane Sowerby
This was the sunrise that greeted us in Aspen, Colorado. Unbelievable. I feel so lucky to witness such a beautiful site. I’ve never skied in Aspen before as it has a reputation for being exclusive to the rich and famous, with emphasis on the rich! Someone we know had a contact with one of the major hotel chains out in America though, so managed to get us an irresistible deal on a room for the night. This gave us the chance to go on a little road trip.
I was definitely missing my Ford S-MAX though! We got a cheap car rental and I fitted my portable hand controls. These are great as they’re so lightweight for travelling overseas with, and they make me appreciate how neat, smooth and easy to use the hand controls fitted by Techmobility through Motability are. Once I got used to the feel of the controls, and worked out how to complete the extra high transfer into the driver’s seat we were off!
The drive from Winter Park to Aspen is stunning, surrounded by mountain peaks most of the way and without any of the congestion we’re so used to here in the UK. Aspen is located in a remote area of the Rocky Mountains’ Sawatch Range, and is named because of the abundance of Aspens in the area. The hotel we were booked into was fantastic, not the standard I’m used to! It was right on the slopes of Snowmass Mountain. We got the free accessible bus into Aspen for the evening to take in the sights and sounds, and get an insight into how the other half live!
And the following morning when welcomed by such a spectacular sunrise, how could you fail to be excited? The skiing for the day was brilliant; we sat and luxuriated over an excellent slopeside lunch before a couple more hours skiing. The drive back made me realise all over again just how huge America is. There’s just so much open space.
I also got the opportunity again to instruct a group of new sit-skiers from the UK who came over with the charity Back Up. As mentioned previously, this was how I first learnt to sit ski so I can really empathise with how they’re feeling. The realisation that despite being paralysed in a wheelchair, you can still get an adrenaline rush, you can find an unbeatable sense of freedom. It was a great group as always, some of the skiers showing real potential. Despite only having six days on snow, by the last day some of them were skiing difficult blue runs without much difficulty. I love teaching new sit skiers, it’s so satisfying seeing what progress can be made in such a short space of time.
Now back in the UK, I’m currently looking out of the window at the rain, missing the mountains already! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we have a better spring/ summer than last year as I have a few UK road trips on my list. Despite moaning about the traffic congestion and lack of space, my heart will always be in this country. We have some very special places of our own that are always fun to explore.