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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
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ampskier

Heather on skiing

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I didn't write this. JohnyV might have to remove it due to copywrite. If I messed up to bad Johnny, just whip me a few times with a wet noodle. If you tell me not to I won't do it again.

Eric

Heather Mills: Adaptive Skier on a Mission

by Elisabeth Osmeloski

Undaunted by her accident, disabled skier Heather Mills talks about the transition skiing for the first time with her prosthetic leg:

"The most difficult thing initially was keeping my leg on. The first time I sat on the chair lift it didn't have a support bar on it for my legs so half way up, I sent a German guy sitting next to me in panic as my leg fell off and nearly knocked a snowboarder out below me. The next day I strapped it on with masking tape then on arrival home helped develop a better limb for skiing. I had to learn to ski all over again and now I'm better than before."

Heather found that skiing with a prosthesis was not that different, but, "like in all sports for amputees, comfort is the most important thing. The alignment is second [because] if it's angled incorrectly, it will put the angle of your ski out," says Heather. One of the biggest obstacles for a disabled skier is to get over any fears and know that you can accomplish anything. Heather adds, "you don't need to be a strong skier physically, just mentally to have the confidence to put all of your weight on one ski as you're turning to get a really good edge."

While she didn't necessarily need a special prosthetic for skiing, Heather did find that it was easier to have an artifical leg that was custom molded to the lining and sole of her ski boot. She uses her "ski leg" only for skiing in winter and leaves it in her boot all season. In the summer, she is able to use the same leg for rollerblading, since the alignment is similar, she leaves it in her skating boot all summer.

As with everything else she does, Heather sees the bright side when asked if skiing with an artifical limb is painful - "It can be painful after hours of skiing especially when you're skiing with able bodied skiers who aren't as good and you have to hang about a lot. The bonus is you have a good excuse to stop for mulled wine more often on the way," laughs Heather.

Even with all the awareness of disabled skiers and Heather's own crusade to show other amputees anything is possible, she says people are shocked to learn she's an adaptive skier. Heather shares this funny story: "Once I got a pass for half price being a disabled skier. And as I got to the chair lift for a second run the French lady said in pigeon English, 'No No zis is a mistake zis belongs to im you havs zee wrong ticket ,she proceeded to take it off me and give it to my boyfriend behind who was not happy as he side stepped up the hill to get in line.' "

While others look at Heather Mills as an outstanding role model, and she gets thousands of emails saying so, she insists she's just like everyone else. And if you need any more proof that she is, Heather says her favorite thing about skiing is: "the air, the views and the exhilarating feeling of freedom".

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