David Morris FRCP MRCS DCH, a consultant paediatrician, adviser to the Spastic Society (now Scope) and a very keen skier, was convinced that the movement available through skiing could have valuable benefits in enhancing co-ordination, balance and self awareness in young people with cerebral palsy. These highly controversial ideas met with resistance for a number of years. However, perseverance paid off and the Spastics Society undertook a pilot scheme involving six children. The early years concentrated on the younger members of the society and various residential activities proved that the theory translated into practice – with highly beneficial results. These preliminary steps were expanded to cover a much wider age range and again the benefits were easy to see and the participants confirmed the earlier findings with a genuine desire for the project to continue and expand.
The 1980’s & 90’s
It had become obvious that many other people with similar motor disabilities could also benefit from these activities.
The Uphill Ski Club formed as an independent charity and the lessons learnt during the earlier years became available to a much wider range of users. Over the years, the charity’s activities widened to the extent that those with a disability, whether physical, sensory or learning could join in fully with the programme. The charity supported all those who wished to participate in winter sports at three different levels of activity:
Local Groups, run by volunteers and, meet at dry slopes around the country delivering adaptive lessons to the disabled community by qualified adaptive instructors
Residential activity weeks are organised throughout Europe and the USA.
Ski School & Schools & Youth
Activities based around the traditional ski school – that also co-ordinate the training of both instructors and volunteer helpers.
The Amalgamation Of Charities
In 2005 two other charities that had provided activities for adaptive skiers (the National Handicapped Skiers Association and Scotland’s Alternative Skiers) disbanded and joined the organisation of the Uphill Ski Club. To reflect this new body, it was then decided that the organisation should change its name to Disability Snowsport UK (DSUK).
In 2007 The British Ski Club for the Disabled also disbanded and came together under the name Disability Snowsport UK to enable them to continue their work delivering adaptive lessons to the disabled.
As is the ultimate goal for David Morris: “Why shouldn’t you have a wheelchair on the top of a mountain?” – a comment made in 1974 and still so relevant today. Please help us achieve it.