Epic Trip

Authored By Prof. Sonkson

29 Sep 2015

A story of a trip made by Professor Peter Sonkson and his wife Sue to the USA in the summer of 2007, complete with a Tramper on a trailer behind a large motor home.

About Professor Peter Sonkson and Sue Sonkson

In December 2002 Peter had a skiing accident in Park City (Utah, USA) where he ended up with a spinal injury (C4/5 incomplete). He had 2 months in University Hospital, Salt Lake City (rehabilitation and surgery) before returning to the UK for another 2 months rehab at The Royal Bucks Hospital, Aylesbury. He was discharged home on Good Friday 2003. He has continued with physiotherapy twice a week since then and has reached a steady state where he can walk up to 100 yards very slowly using elbow crutches or preferably a 3-wheeled rollator.

Peter feels fortunate to live in part of a large house in the heart of rural Hampshire. It converted easily to accommodate his needs with a (Thyssen’s Flow) stair lift going from the front door to first and second floor. This allows access to pretty well the whole house. There is a large garden totaling 2.5 acres. In 2004 he invested in a Tramper (and later a trailer) that gave him access to the larger part of the garden and to local footpaths and farm roads and the local pub! The South Downs Way runs along the top of the downs about a mile away and he ventures out there from time to time although he finds some of the ruts somewhat daunting!

Last Summer he started thinking about going skiing again and after a lot of family debate, decided to revisit Park City at the end of the season when the weather would be warmer. he persuaded his daughter and her husband and 3 children to join them. They were also invited to join a couple of longstanding American friends to join them on a trip around the South West National Parks in their newly acquired 34ft Winnebego motor home.

Peter chose Park City for several reasons including the fact that it is the centre of US disabled activities including adaptive skiing. As only the Americans could name it, it’s the ‘National Ability Centre’ (NAC) Since USA are so far ahead of UK and EU in adjusting for people with disabilities and they speak a language closely related to us, it seemed the best location to sample adaptive skiing. He and his wife had been skiing in Park City for 15 years and had owned a condo there for 10 years, so they knew the area (and loved it and the people) very well. It has as the State motto says “The best snow in the World” or certainly the best in the USA!

Peter had no fears about returning to the place where he had his accident, indeed he said he couldn’t wait to get back on the mountains and see the fabulous views that one gets.