A man behind ski trips for the disabled says even sorting flights and transfers from five airports for stays of different lengths will all be worth it once the young people hit the slopes.
Vic Rollinson organises the trips on behalf of Disability Skiing Wales and this month, he will be taking more than 70 young people from across the country to the Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria.
They will include 10 using ‘sit skis’ (moulded bucket seats mounted on a ski).
Disability Ski North Wales is based at the dry ski slope on the Great Orme in Llandudno.
Vic has been organising trips to Pamporovo in Bulgaria, which is 260km from the capital Sofia, for four years now and say the venture has grown hugely.
“I work with Disability Skiing Wales and, a few years ago, I asked some if they’d ever skied on real snow and they said they hadn’t,” he said.
“So I looked at the cost and got some frightening figures for disabled kids and a lot of families couldn’t afford it.
“I’ve done a lot of business with Bulgarians myself so I went out and had a long weekend there, had a few chats and agreed we’d start going out and it’s been a big success so far.
“There were 12 on the first trip, then 20, 40 and this year there is 72.”
Vic, from Ruthin, says the hospitality of the Bulgarians and the variety of the slopes makes all the effort worthwhile.
“I do all the bookings and flights, so it’s a major task,” he said.
Skiers will be flying out from different airports on March 9, 10 and 11.
“It’s hard work logistically, but once you’re out there, it’s worth it,” said Vic.
“We’ve had so much help from British Airways and outdoor clothing company Tog24 with one thing and another.
“Everyone who comes gets a good ski holiday for a very good price.”
He said: “We’re taking people from as far away as Southend. People do say we’re the best at these sorts of trips. We say we’re a Welsh club, but we are open to all sorts of people.
“We’re almost a mini holiday company. Everybody’s got insurance. It’s not an easy task.
“We take medical people, helpers, guides and carers, all sorts of people, so we’re well covered.
Vic added: “We’ve got people with all sorts of disabilities going – from MS, to Down’s Syndrome and people on the autistic spectrum and so-on.
“And then the guys in the sit skis: paraplegics, people who’ve had polio, amputees going as well, so it’s a good mixture.
“It opens up the choice for a holiday for people who could not usually afford it.”