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There's a brand new town in town
It's definitely a pleasant little mountain town.
Book signing by former NSCD star
Cale Kenney, a former Fraser Valley Resident and writer for the Winter Park Manifest, will sign her new book, Have Crutch Will Travel, at a reading scheduled for 1 p.m., Sunday, April 13 at the Shed Restaurant in Winter Park.
Disabled in a motorcycle collision with a car at age 19, Kenney is a former skier with the National Sports Center for the Disabled. The full title of her book is Have Crutch Will Travel: The Adventures of a Modern Day Clamity Jane.
One reviewer stated that in her book, Kenney tells of humorous episodes involving her crutches, explores women’s issues, testifies in graphic honesty about confronting deep loss, and in countless ways celebrates the unique Colorado Mountain experience.
Former Manifest editor and owner Virginia Cornell wrote the following tribute: When you know Cale, it’s easy to forget she survived one of the most radical female amputations performed. Nevertheless, she crafted a life of thrills and adventure beyond what most ‘intact’ people would dare dream. This entertaining memoir is a picaresque tale of her travels, her conquest of the ski slopes, her medical challenges, and her determination to outfox pain. It’s witty and wise, one of the most inspiring stories you’ll ever read.
The book also contains a tribute from Hal O’Leary, who started the NSCD at Winter Park.
In her book Kenney said that skiing was the sport that "gave my body back to me."
Cornell said that she doesn’t know anyone who is a better writer about skiing than Kenney, who is former English major in college.
"Not only has Cale helped a lot of disabled people in learning how to cope, she has taught a lot of normal people how to enjoy life,” Cornell said.
She said the first time she ever saw Kenney was at a meeting for disabled skiers held in Winter Park.
"Cale totally lights up a room. I saw this rather small person going from person to person with a smile as big as the whole Winter Park ski area," she said.
Cornell added that Kenney has suffered further health problems that have limited her ability to get around. She said that Cale wrote most of her book while lying on her stomach.
Kenney is the owner of Tell Tale Publishing, based in Denver. She has also published Howlings: Wild Women of the West. Her new book is available for order online at www.howlings.com or through Tell Tale Publishing, Box 181172, Denver, CO 80218, for $20 per book, plus $5 shipping and handling. Kenney can be contacted at email@example.com.
Following is excerpts from one chapter, titled Geilo Remembered. Cale writes that she first wrote the story, then called, One Racer Remembers, in 1989 for the Manifest and added a little more for this book.
By Cale Kenney
Ten years ago Winter Park was my hometown. It was a good town to be from if you were a handicap skier with a dream to be a competitive athlete. There was no organized team or coaches or even a competition center as we knew it, but Hal O’Leary had a handicap ski program, and the Rocky Mountain chapter of National Handicapped Sports skied here. (Among RMHSA were several of the Vietnam veterans who helped organize the Handicap National Championships.) IF there was ever going to be a U.S. team, I figured it would start in Winter Park. I felt like a pioneer in three-track skiing when it did.
I am not a historical but a memoirist, but I knew of only two other international disabled winter sports events that preceded me. One was a World Championship even at Grand Bornand, France; Debbie Phillips, a fearless three-track skier was one of the best in a contingent of New Englanders who took part. Danny Pufpaff, my teammate and later coach, was there with a group of skiers from the Rocky Mountain group. The second event was the Olympics for Disabled in 1976 in Sweded that was attended by only by one American, Bill Hovanic. Bill told me that when he went to the registration table in Salen, Sweded, he was asked What country?
United States, Bill replied.
Are you the coach?
Bill said yea, and when they asked him where his team was he told them, I am the team.
After the first race the same man asked him how the U.S. had done. The coach is very pissed at the team, was Bill’s retort.
It wasn’t until 1980 that the U.S. brought its first sanctioned group of athletes to the Olympic Games for the Disabled in Geilo, Norway. The Olympic National Committee for disabled skiing must have been made up of veterans; why else would they allow amputees to race with outriggers? In 1980 we brought an exhibition team, including our best male and female tree track skiers, Debbie, a congenital defect, and David Jamison, post polio, as well as four-tracker and sit-skier. Winter Park was the US Disabled team headquarters. Winter Park’s newspaper, The Winter Park Manifest, featured stories, on the local heroes, and Deno Kutrumbus hosted a stake-dinner training table for the whole U.S. team at the Swiss House Bistro just before we left town.
A fe days after we arrived, we were received by the King and Queen of Norway in a huge reception hall, and we stayed in Oslo for a week, alternately training in the surrounding ski towns and sight-seeing in Geilo. I must confess I enjoyed the latter more than the former. I was awed by the gigantic museum the Viking Ships were displayed in, while I loved the Kon-Tiki exhibit and the history of these seafaring people.
My memories of Norway I’ll always cherish, though some were tough to take at the time.
At Norfiell, for instance, instead of a chair lift there was a poma lift. Pat Campanella, a volunteer of Winter Park, just happened to be working on Norway that year. (When we fist came to Norfiell, we saw a sign saying, Colorado spoken here. IF it weren’t for the coincidence that this Winter Park volunteer was the lift operator that day, I don’t know what I would have done. Without a hip or pelvis on my left side there was nothing to put the poma disk between except the crook of my arm. I tried first to ride the lift to the top hanging on like that, and then I bailed when my arm muscles gave out. So there was no choice but to side step up the rest of the way to reach the US training gates. I was exhausted after the second run. Pat worked out the tricky maneuver of putting the poma disk between his legs. I would then jump in front of him all this had to be done in a certain quick timing and lean against his legs all the way up the hill.
I quit training early that day, and out of sheer frustration. I wept ugly tears: Why couldn’t they have real lifts like in America? I felt a a bitter disadvantage to the Aks and BKs who could handle the lift, and was angry this accessibility” issue concerned no one but me.
However, when I found the nearest bar, who should I find but two other Americans, Doug Kiel, our only arm and eg amputee, and Alan Hayes, a Vietnam vet and double AK amputee. I don’t know if we were considered the Special Forces or not, but I didn’t feel so alone after that.
When we finally said goodbye to the city of Oslo, we shared a train ride with several European teams, one of which brought along an accordion player, and there was great cheer and musical accompaniment as we rode past the evergreen forests of Norway’s countryside. When we got to Geilo, we were treated as celebrities. Our train was met by a parade of townspeople, including several huge Trolls, the Norwegians’ mascot. In our race packets we each received hand-drawn pictures from school children of each child’s idea of an event at the Disabled Olympics.
We statyed at one of the classiest lodges I had ever seen, a rambling white mansion with a back door you could ski right up to, a garage out back to work on skis, a disco in the cellar, and a bar that was regularly attended by Americans and Japanese, who shared the same hotel. We were constantly greeted with O-hio or Hi-hi! or toasts of aquavitae. Huge smorgasbords were laid out for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and we were served sit-down style at lunchtime between morning and afternoon on the hill. The chicken cordon-bleu and huge slabs of cheeses, every type of fish know to water, and desserts that defied seconds, are but savory samples of the daily fare I remember vividly as the Norwegian poma lift.
I brought pewter, carved wood, wool headbands and sweaters, and other finely crafted presents to bring back to friends, and trained for winning the downhill event in the next world championships, I was retired after a knee injury three days before our team left Switzerland in 1982. That year Winter Park was a good town to recover in as the Winter Park race team allowed me in their shack to watch the competition up close and personal.
In February of 1990 athletes from all over the world were slated to leave their hometown hills to compete in Winter Park. I was in grad school in Boston when I first hear, and a passion for my old hometown of Winter Park burned in my heart. Leaving my advisor shaking his head, I arranged to do my graduate courses in absentia. Since I was also studying desktop publishing, I packed up my computer and returned for the 1989-90 season. I had no idea how I would make a living, but I needed to be among my kind and participate in whatever way I could. What a blast!
It’s a long story, not to be told here, how I came to be a witness,
a daily reporter, editor and publisher, at the first international games
in the United States in 1990. With the help of a dozen French, German
and English volunteers, I produced an eight-page newsletter with standings,
individual and national, hard sports and human interest stories about
the competition for the two weeks Winter Park hosted the games. I am
so proud to have trained as a racer and a journalist.
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