Brian McCormick loves to hit the slopes at Hidden Valley.
“Skiing was my first love. I’ve been doing this for about 20 some years and there is absolutely nothing like speeding down the mountain at 40 plus miles per hour and making those smooth turns,” he said.
McCormick is still speeding down the mountain, but now he does it sitting on a mono ski. He broke his back on these very slopes in 2001.
A year later he was making those smooth turns again with help from Three Rivers Adaptive Sports of Pittsburgh, or TRAS.
“I owe everything to them for enabling me to get out there, to get back on the snow,” he said.
“Our motto is, if I can do this, I can do anything. So it is really about inspiring the people,” said volunteer instructor Steve Wanovich.
Inspiring is an understatement.
Channel 11’s Peggy Finnegan spent a day with the group recently.
Wanovich and his fellow volunteers at TRAS make the impossible, possible for people with disabilities.
“These guys are awesome,” Steve Berkow told Finnegan.
Berkow's 13-year-old daughter, Lilly, has cerebral palsy and her mobility is limited, but put her on her ski slider and she can zip down a hill, tethered to her father and brother, Zach.
TRAS taught them the skills when Lilly was only 5.
“As a parent it can be pretty terrifying to turn over your child -- let alone your disabled child -- and go up a mountain. And we ski fast,” Berkow said.
Skiing is one of the few adaptive sports that people with disabilities can do alongside able bodied people, allowing families time together.
“I can do this right alongside my dad. We go up the same lift together. He doesn't go down the same hills I go down, but that's a different story. So maybe I'm a little bit more enabled than he is,” joked McCormick.
Three Rivers Adaptive Sports is at Hidden Valley or 7 Springs every weekend during the ski season.