When it snows and the blizzards do their thing, I freak out. As a wheelchair-user, I know getting through snow is one of the hardest things to pull off. Our four wheels just weren’t made to get through snow. So until a presto chango wheelchair that turns into skis is invented, I gotta be smarter than the average bear. And so do you. With a few things to remember, it can be easy to show the snow who’s boss, and even better, not get stuck. Here are my favorites!
Don’t Get Stuck: You probably already do this, but always stay where it’s shoveled and you’ll never have to worry about getting stuck. It can be easy to think a snow pile isn’t very big and try your luck at plowing through it. And if you’re with someone who can help (and you’re looking for some adventure), then go ahead and try it. If not, and you’re alone, definitely don’t. Wheelchairs always get stuck in the snow, and that includes both manual and power wheelchairs.
Practice Patience: Most people aren’t born patient, but this is a skill you can get better at with practice. Kids with disabilities can be some of the most patient people in the world. So when the snow traps you inside and you can’t go anywhere for awhile, remember to be patient. Take a deep breath and let the frustration of feeling stuck float away. Do this more and more and you’ll get better in time…if you’re patient that is :)
Be Thankful: Gratitude. This means to give thanks and appreciate what you have instead of focusing on what you don’t have. When the snow makes it seem like you can’t go anywhere (because let’s face it, that’s what it does), think about how lucky you are to have such a nice wheelchair, especially when kids with disabilities in other countries have no wheelchair at all. Think about how lucky you are to be in school, to have the family like yours. Just be grateful. The snow will be gone before you know it.
Learn to Hibernate: Other than staying where it’s shoveled, being pushed hard, or using skis or some other funky sled, there’s really no any other way for wheelchairs to get through snow. So be like a bear this Winter and hibernate. And by hibernate I mean to learn to enjoy your indoor time. Winter is a great time to try a new hobby like painting or arts and crafts, even a new computer game. Enjoy your indoor time like a bear in his cozy den, patiently awaiting Spring.
I wish I had a super secret tip that would magically help you whenever get stuck in snow, but sadly (unless you have a 4x drive wheelchair), it doesn’t exist. Instead, dealing with snow takes some serious smarts. Mind over matter. Be patient, be thankful, and knowing when and where to roll. And don’t forget to put on your scarf!