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La Rosiere -Skiing with Cerebral Palsy - Matthew Howard

Matthew Howard (8), has cerebral palsy. His mother contacted Ski 2 Freedom Foundation to discuss her son’s requirements -2009

"Before going skiing I was quite scared about it. My teacher Mathieu, from ESF La Rosière, helped make me feel more confident and was very cheerful. He taught me how to snowplough and to turn, I say 'just give it a go!”

"Matthew had tried skiing a few years before but kept falling over and didn’t enjoy it. We decided this time it was vital to find someone experienced in teaching children with disabilities. Having discovered your website and seeing a young boy called Hugo with his instructor who appeared to have similar problems as my son it made me realise that there are loads of options and adaptations available to people with disabilities and that judging from other people's experience there was a very good chance that Matthew would be able to ski.”

Having discussed all needs of both Matthew and the rest of the family Ski 2 Freedom's director Catherine Cosby was able to identify which ski resorts might be best suited for the Howard family. This information was then used by the family so they could make their own choice of resort – what made it easier for them was that the Foundation had already made contact with the ski schools which meant that Matthew’s requirements had already been thought about and therefore when Mrs Howard spoke with the ski schools they could discuss the options available.

“I found it very reassuring to be able to talk direct with Simon Atkinson, the head of ESF in La Rosière, and talk over Matthew's issues. He recommended that Matthew have one to one lessons and that if it didn't work out for him he could swap these for chair skiing sessions. Having this flexible approach was perfect. We were then able to reassure Matthew that whatever happened he would have a great experience!”

Mrs Howard told Ski 2 Freedom that they had decided on La Rosière.

“Matthew's teacher - conveniently also called Mathieu! - was brilliant. He understood immediately that Matthew tires very easily and made sure that he had regular breaks. Matthew made great progress and by the end of the week was able to snowplough, stop, and turn on gentle slopes. More importantly, Matthew felt really proud of his achievement and had a great time!”

“I would really recommend La Rosière as a lovely family orientated station, with a very positive, experienced and flexible approach to disabled skiing. I'd also like to thank Catherine and Ski 2 Freedom for taking so much care and time to help us make the right choices. We had a really amazing time and will definitely go back to La Rosière.”