Disability proves no barrier for 12-year-old Kelowna sit skier

Samuel is a 12-year-old double leg amputee who independently sit-skis

For most people, the sensation of wind rushing through their hair is often taken for granted.

However, for people who rely on a wheelchair to live, the simple pleasure of such a common experience can be life changing.

Few people know this better than Samuel Peters, who spent the first seven years of his life either being carried by his parents or in a wheelchair.

Born requiring an above-knee amputation to both his legs, Samuel has spent the past six years learning how to sit-ski thanks to Powder Hounds and People in Motion, a non-profit organization with more than 60 volunteers who give people with sensory or physical disabilities the chance to enjoy the sport of skiing with adaptive equipment.

“As you can imagine, with the mobility difference feeling the wind in your hair is something that’s really rare,” said Samuel, who is now 12 years old.

Unlike able-bodied children who can freely participate in extracurricular activities, the number of programs tailored toward disabled children in the Okanagan is limited.

In 2019, through the work of the Community for All Action Plan, the City of Kelowna was recognized as an age-friendly B.C. community from the province’s ministry of health.

The plan not only targets senior citizens, but includes helping children with diverse abilities, however, there are still very few programs tailored to kids living with disabilities.

“There are sports classes here and there but they’re usually tailored towards adults, which makes sense because there are typically are more adults in wheelchairs than kids,” said Samuel’s father Steven.

READ MORE: Kelowna receives accolades for accessibility and inclusivity

READ MORE: Kelowna autism program to end due to lack of funding

“It all started when we had one of the Powder Hounds volunteers approach my wife and I while we were shopping for groceries and tell us about the services they were providing.”

For many adaptive skiers, sit-skiing is not an individual sport.

It’s a sport that requires the support of a strong and knowledgeable team at every stage of learning.

“We were actually very nervous to start at first because Sam was little at the time,” said Steven.

From rolling his way through life to shredding fresh powder, Samuel has improved tremendously since his first time hitting the slopes in 2014.

“It was a challenge, everything was brand new. Even just sitting upright and maintaining balance was new for me,” said Samuel.

“I like activities I can overcome and get really good at.”

The volunteers at Powder Hounds started Samuel out fairly simply. Once he started using his own outriggers, which help him steer his sit-ski, he continued to progress.

“He then upgraded to using a tether. A tether allows a volunteer to steer or stop him if it is really necessary and just last year he graduated from the tether, so now he’s independently skiing for the first time this season,” said Steven.

Like many individuals with diverse abilities, Samuel doesn’t think what he is doing is inspiring, but instead believes he’s just trying to do something other people do in a different way.

Samuel said he plans to continue improving his sit-skiing skills and maybe tackle a few jumps when he’s older.

“It’s all about going faster and trying to have a really good time in a safe way.”

ALSO READ: A healing journey at Arion Therapeutic Farm


Natalia Cuevas Huaico
Social Media Co-ordinator/ Reporter, Black Press Media
Email me at Natalia.CuevasHuaico@blackpress.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip appeals for living-donor kidney transplant

Okanagan Nation Alliance Grand Chief has chronic kidney disease

Column: Penticton Regional Hospital returning to ‘new normal’

If we’ve learned anything over the last few months, it’s how important good health is in our lives.

Olympic athlete sends shout-out to Cawston Primary students

Canadian Olympic sprinter Khamica Bingham participated in one of the school’s long-time traditions

Penticton Search and Rescue respond to six calls in less than a week

Two hikers rescued in early morning search near Greyback Lake latest in series of searches

In photos: Modified, yet traditional graduation gives Penticton graduates a sense of normalcy

Students around Penticton take part in pre-recorded graduation ceremonies

Second video of Kelowna RCMP arrest shows Mountie punching suspect at least 10 times

The officer involved in the incident has been reassigned to administrative duties

New video evidence in Surrey man’s West Kelowna murder trial shown in court

The defence closed its case following the playing of the video in court, marking the end of the evidentiary phase of the trial

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Community backlash over Black Lives Matter rally in Kelowna

Some members of Kelowna’s black community stated they don’t support Friday’s rally

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Flooding prompts closure of parks along Shuswap and Mara lakes

Boaters asked to respect No Wake policy protecting properties along water

Black Lives Matter protester stands alone in Vernon

Rumblings of a citywide protest continue across social media platforms

Cyclist in serious condition after being hit by dump truck in Kelowna

The woman sustained injuries to one of her legs, according to RCMP

Most Read